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Full text of "The coward. A novel of society and the field in 1863"

THE UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 

LIBRARY 




THE WILMER COLLECTION 

OF CIVIL WAR NOVELS 

PRESENTED BY 

RICHARD H. WILMER, JR. 




J£|LM£K 



THE COWARD. 



A NOVEI. OF 



SOCIETY AND THE FIELD 



IN 



18 63. 



BY HENRY MOEFORD. 

AUTHOR OF "SHOULDER-STRAPS," "THE DAYS OF SHODDY," ETC. 
4 » • • t 



PHILADELPniA: 
T. B. PETEKSOK k BEOTEERS, 

306 CHESTNUT STREET. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1S64, by 
T. B. PETERSON & BROTHERS, 
[n the Clerk's Offlce of the District Court of the United States, In and for the Eastern 
District of Pennsylvania. 



TO 

THE PATRIOT PRINTERS OF AMERICA- 

THE MEN ■WHO 

HAVE FURNISHED MORE SOLDIERS 

THAN ANY OTHER CLASS 

IN COMPARISON WITH THE WHOLE NUMBER OF THEIR CRAFT, 

TO 

THE DEAD HEROES OF THE WAR FOR THE UNION 

AND 

THE LIVING ARMIES THAT YET BULWARK ITS HOPE, — 

THIS 

BLENDING OF THE FACTS AND FANCIES 

OF 

W A R - T I M E, 

IS 

DEDICATED BY THEIR BROTHER-CRAFTSMAN, 

THE AUTHOR. 

Xeiu York Cit>/, July, 1864. 



603150 



PEEFACE. 



Some persons, taking up tliis work with expectations 
more or less elevated, may possibly lay it down with 
disappointnient after perusal, because it does not discuss 
with sharp personalities, as the title may have led them 
to suppose,, the conduct of some of those well-known men 
connected with the Union Army, who have disgracefully 
faltered on the field. But the truth is that the Union 
Army has mustered very few cowards — so few, that a 
distinguished artist, not long ago called on to draw an 
ideal head of one of that class, said : " Keally it is so long 
since I have seen a coward, that I scarcely know how to 
go about it I" The aim of the writer, eschewing all 
such tempting personalities, and quite as carefully 
avoiding all dry didactic discussion of the theme of 
courage and its opposite, — ^has principally been to illus- 
trate the tendency of many men to misunderstand their 
own characters in certain particulars, and the inevitable 
consequence of their being misunderstood by the world, 

in one direction or the other. No apology is felt to be 

21 



22 PREFACE. 

necessary for the length at which the scenery of the 
White Mountains, their actualities of interest and possi- 
bilities of danger, have been introduced into the narra- 
tion ; nor is it believed that the chain of connection \rith 
the great contest will be found the weaker because the 
glimpses given of it are somewhat more brief than in 
preceding publications of the same series. In those 
portions the writer has again occasion to acknowledge 
the assistance of the same capable hand which supplied 
much of the war data for both of his previous volumes. 

New York City, July Ist^ 1864. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 
A June Morning of Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-tliree — Glimpses 
of West Philadelphia — The Days before Gettysburg!! — 
The Two on the Piazza — Margaret Hayley and Elsie 
Brand — An Embrace and a Diflference — Foreshadowings of 
Carlton Brand, Brother and Lover 29 

CHAPTER II. . 

The Coming of Carlton Brand — Almost a Paladin of Balaclava — 
Brother and Sister—A Spasm of Shame — The Confession 
— The Coward — How Margaret Hayley heard Many Words 
not intended for her— The Rupture and the Separation... 45 

CHAPTER III. 
Kitty Hood and her School -house — DickCompton going Soldier- 
ing— A Lover's Quarrel, a bit of Jealousy, and a Threat — ■ 
How Dick Compton met his supposed Rival — An Encoun- 
ter, Sudden Death, and Kitty Hood's terrible Discovery.. 61 

CHAPTER IV. 
The Residence of the Brands — Robert Brand and Dr. Pome- 
roy — Radical and Copperhead — A passage-at-arms that 
ended in a Quarrel — Elspeth Graeme the Housekeeper — 
The Shadow of Shame— Father and Daughter— The fall- 
ing of a parent's Curse 81 

23 



24 CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER V. 
The Birth and Blood of the Brands— Pride that came down from 
the Crnsades — Robert Brand as S^)ldier and Pension- 
Agent — How Elsie raved, and how the Fitther's Curse 
seemed to be answered — Dr. James Holton, and the 
loss of a Corpus Delicti 99 

CHAPTER VI. 
The Residence of Dr. Pomeroy — Nathan Bladesden and Eleanor 
Hill — A kneeling Woman and a rigid Quaker — The ruin 
that a Letter had wrought — A Parting that seemed eter- 
nal — Carlton Brand alive once more, and a Glance at the 
fatal Letter 120 

CHAPTER Vn. 

A return to 1856 — Nicholas Hill, Iron-merchant — His Death, 
his Daughter, and his Friend — How Dr. Pomeroj became 
a Guardian and how he Discharged that duty — A ruin and 
an awakening — The market value of Dunderhaven Stock 
in 1858 137 

CHAPTER VIIL 
What followed the revelation of Betrayal — A gleam of Hope for 
Eleanor Hill — A relative from California, a projected 
Voyage, and a Disappointment — One more Letter-^The 
broken thread resumed — Carlton Brand's farewell, and an 
Elopement 164 

CHAPTER IX. 

Dr. Pomeroy's purposed Pursuit — A plain Quaker who used 
very plain Language— Almost a Fight — How Mrs. Burton 
Hayley consoled her Daughter, and how Margaret revealed 
the Past — A Compact — Dr. Pomeroy's Canine Adventure 
— Old Elspeth once more — A Search that found Nothing. 174 



CONTENTS. 25 

CHAPTER X. 
Before and after Gettysburg!! — The Apathy and Despair which 
preceded, and the Jubilation which followed — What 
Kitty Hood said after the Battle, and what Robert Brand 
—Brother and Sister — A guest at the Fifth Avenue 
Hotel — A fire-room Visit, an Interview, and a Departure 
for Europe 200 

CHAPTER XI.' 

Anomalies of the War for the Union— The Watering-place rush 
of 1863 — A White Mountain party disembarking at Little- 
ton — Who filled the Concord coach — The Vanderlyns — 
Shoddy on its travels — Mr. Brooks Cunninghame and his 
Family— '*H. T." and an Excitement 219 

CHAPTER XII. 
Landing at the Profile House — Halstead Rowan and Gymnastics 
— How that person saw Clara Vanderlyn and became a 
Rival of " H. T."— The Full Moon in the Notch— Trodden 
Toes, a Name, a Voice, and a Rencontre — Margaret Hay- 
ley and Capt. Hector Coles — The Old Man of the Mountain 
by Moonlight, and a Mystery 237 

CHAPTER Xni. 
Miss Clara Vanderlyn and her Pet Bears — A misadventure and 
a Friendly Hand in time — The question of Courage — Hal- 
stead Rowan and Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame on Geo- 
graphy—The Dead Washington, the Flume and the Pool 
— With the personal relations weaving at that juncture. 255 

CHAPTER XIV. 
A disaster to Master Brooks Brooks Cunninghame — Exit into 
the bottom of the Pool— Nobody that could swim, and Mar- 
garet Hayley in Excitement—" H. T." in his element, in 
two senses — Another Introduction and a new Hero — 
Scenes in the Profile parlor — Rowan and Clara Vanderlyn 
—The Insult i 279 



26 CONTENTS. 

PACT. 

CHAPTER XV. 
How Halstead Rowan arranged tliat expected Duel — Ten-pins 
versus bloodshed — Some anxiety about identity — The 
"H. T." initials, again— A farewell to the Brooks Cuu- 
ninghames — An hour on Echo Lake, with a Rhapsody 
and a strangely-interested Listener 293 

CHAPTER XVL 
Cloud and Storm at the Profile — Sights and Sensations of a rainy- 
day ride to the Crawford — Horace Townsend and Halstead 
Rowan once more together — Unexpected Arrivals — A 
cavalcade of Miserables — An ascent of Mount Washing- 
ton, with Equestrianism and War-whoops extraordinary. 323 

CHAPTER XVII. 
Horace Townsend with a Lady in charge — An adventure over 
the " Gulf of Mexico" — Clara Vanderlyn in deadly peril 
— A moment of horror — Halstead Rowan and a display of 
the Comanche riding — Townsend's eclipse — The return 
to the Crawford — Margaret Hayley again, and a Conversa- 
tion overheard 348 

CHAPTER XVIII. 
Horace Townsend and Margaret Hayley — A strange Rencontre 
in the Parlor — Another Rencontre, equally strange but 
less pleasant — How Clara Vanderlyn faded away from the 
Mountains — And how the Comanche Rider "played 
baby" and disappeared 370 

CHAPTER XIX. 
A strange Character at breakfast—" The Rambler," and his An- 
tecedents — What Horace Townsend heard about Fate — 
Going up to Pic-uic on Mount Willard — The Plateau, the 
Rope and tho Swing — Spreading the Banquet — The din- 
ner-call and a cry which answered it — A fearful situation. 392 



CONTENTS. 27 

PAGE. 

CHAPTER XX. 
Suspense in danger, iu two Senses — ^Horace Townsend with a 
Swing-rope — An invitation to Captain Hector Coles — A 
fearful piece of Amateur Gymnastics — Going down into 
the Schute — Success or Failure? — The event, and Mar- 
garet Hayley's madness — Two unfortunate Declarations. 410 

CHAPTER XXI. 
The hearer of a Disgraced Name in England— A strange Quest 
and a strange Unrest — Hurrying over to Ireland — Too late 
for the Packet — The little Despatch-steamer — Henry 
Fitzmaurice, the journalist — The peril of the Emerald, 
and the end of all Quests save one 432 

CHAFER XXII. 

Pleasanton's advance on Culpeper — Crossing the Rappahannock 
— The fight and the calamity of Rawson's Cross-Roads — 
Taking of Culpeper — Pleasanton's Volunteer Aide — 
Townsend versus Coles — The meeting of Two who loved 
each other — And the Little Ride they took together 452 

CHAPTER XXIII. 
Once more at West Philadelphia— September and Change — Last 
glimpses of Kitty Hood and Dick Compton — Robert Brand 
and his invited Guest — The news of Death — Old Elspeth 
Graeme as a Seeress — The dispatch from Alexandria — 
The Quest of Brand and Margaret Hayley 478 

CHAPTER XXIV. 
In the Hospital at Alexandria — The wounded Man and his Nurse 
— Who was Horace Townsend f— A Mystery explained — 
How Eleanor Hill went back to Dr. Pomeroy'a — One word 
more of the Comanche Rider— Conclusion 490 



THE COWARD. 



CHAPTER L 

A June Morning of Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-threb 
— Glimpses op West Philadelphia — The Days before 
Gettysburg — The Two on the Piazza — Margaret 
Hayley and Elsie Brand — An Embrace and a Differ- 
ence — Foreshadowings op Carlton Brand, Brother and 
Lover. 

A WIDE piazza, with the columns made of such light tracery 
in scrolled plank-work that they seemed to be almost unreal 
and gave an appearance of etheriality to the whole front of the 
house. The piazza, flecked over with the golden June sun- 
shine that stole down between the branches of the tall trees 
standing in front and shading the house, and that crept in 
through the network of twine and climbing roses clambering 
almost up to the roof from the balustrade below. The house 
to which the piazza adjoined, large, built of wood in that 
half Flemish and half Elizabethan style which has of late 
years been made popular through cheap books on cottage 
architecture and the illustrations in agricultural newspapers, — 
two and a half stories in height, with a double gabled fron*: 
that belonged to the one, elaborate cornices and work over 
the piazza that belonged to the other, and a turret in the 
centre that belonged to neither. A wide, tall door opening 
from the piazza, and windows also opening upon it, sweeping 

29 



30 THK COWARD. 

down quite to the floor. Altogether a house which approached 
more nearly to the " composite" order of architecture so much 
affected by wealthy Americans, than to any one set down in 
the books by a particular designation ; and yet shapely and 
imposing, and showing that if the most unimpeachable taste 
had not presided over the erection, yet wealth had been 
lavishly expended and all the modern graces and ornaments 
freely supplied. 

In front of the house, and sweeping down to the road that 
ran within a hundred feet, a grassed lawn lying in the lovely 
green of early summer, only broken at irregular intervals by 
the dozen of trees of larger and smaller sizes, round which 
the earth had been artistically made to swell so as to do away 
with any appearance of newness and create the impression 
that the roundness had been caused by the bursting of the 
trees farther out of the ground through many years of vigorous 
growth. Beneath one of the largest of the trees — a maple, 
with the silver sheen almost equally divided between its bark 
and its glossy leaves, a long wooden bench or settee, with 
two or three sofa-cushions thrown carelessly upon it, as if it 
formed at times a favorite lounge for a reader or a smoker. 
On the piazza a triad of chairs, irregularly placed and all 
unoccupied. One of the two folding doors leading into the 
balls from the piazza, wide open, as became the season, and 
the other half closed as if a single puff of summer breeze 
coming through the hall had become exhausted before closing 
it entirely. One of the windows opening from the piazza 
into what seemed to be the better part of the house, closed 
entirely ; and the other, with the shutters " bowed" or half 
open, permitting a peep into a large parlor or sitting-room, 
with rich carpet and handsome furniture, but kept dusky 
under the impression (more or less reasonable) that thereby 
additional coolness would be secured. 

Near the house, on both sides, other houses of correspond- 
ing pretension though displaying great variety in st3ie of 
architecture ; and in front, across the wide road, still others 

m 



THE COWARD. SI 

showing to the right and left, and the whole appearance of 
the immediate neighborhood evidencing that it was neither 
country nor city, but a blending of both, suburban, and a 
chosen spot for tho residences of those who did business in 
the great city and wished to bo near it, and who possessed 
means and taste to make so pleasant a selection. Still farther 
away in front, as seen between the other houses and shrub- 
bery, and stretching off southward in a long rolling sweep, 
rich agricultural country, with some of the hay-crop yet un- 
gathered, broad fields of grain receiving tho last ripening 
kiss of the sun before yielding to the sickle or the reaping- 
machine, and fruit-trees already beginning to be golden with 
the apples, pears and peaches glimmering amid the leaves. 
A quiet, gentle scene, with evident wealth to gild it and per- 
fect repose to lend it character ; and over all the warm sun 
of a June morning resting like a benediction, and a slight 
shadow of golden haze in the air softening every object in the 
perspective. Occasionally a pedestrian figure moving slowly 
along one of the foot-paths that bordered the wide road ; and 
anon a farm-wagon loaded with early produce and on its way 
to market, rumbling by with such a sleepy expression on tho 
face of the driver and such lollings of the ears of the full-fed 
and lazy horses, that the episode of its passage rather added 
to than detracted from the slumberous quiet of the prospect. 

Then another passage, very different and not at all in 
keeping with any of the points that have before been noted. 
An officer in full uniform, with the front of his chasseur cap 
thrown high in defiance of the glare of the sunshine, spurring 
by on a high-stepping and fast-trotting horse, eastwai'd to- 
wards the city, with such life and haste in every movement 
of himself and the animal he bestrode as to momentarily dash 
the whole view with unquiet. Then the equestrian figure 
out of sight and the beat of his horse's hoofs heard no longer; 
and the scene relapsing into that languor born of the June 
morning verging rapidly towards noon. 

Then a sudden sound, still more discordant with the drowsy 



82 THE COWARD. 

peace of the hour than the sight of the spurring soldier, and 
still more painfully suggestive of war in the laud of peace. 
The quick, sharp rattle of a snare-drum, but a little space re- 
moved, and apparently passing down one of the lateral roads 
in the neighborhood, dyin^ away with a light tap into the 
distance a moment after, aLd quiet coming back again yet 
more markedly after so incongruous an interruption. 

The place, West Philadelphia, half a mile or more beyond 
the Schuylkill, not far from the line traversed beyond the 
bridge by the Market Street cars, and near the intersection 
of that branch of the main artery known as the Darby Road, 
— in the outer edge of that beautiful little section with its 
tall trees and plats of natural green, out of and into which 
the shrieking monsters of the Pennsylvania Central Railroad 
dart every hour in the day with freight and passengers to 
and from the Great West. The time, late in June, 1863, a 
few days before Gettysburg, when the long-threatened inva- 
sion of the North by the rebels had become for the moment 
an accomplished fact, when Lee and Ewell had crossed the 
Potomac, swept on through Upper Maryland, entered Penn- 
sylvania, devastated the farms and carried away the stock of 
the farmers on the border, laid York under a contribution, 
burned the barracks at Carlisle, and threatened every hour to 
capture Harrisburgh and force the passage of the Susque- 
hanna. When women and children, and by far too many of 
the able-bodied inhabitants who should have shown more 
pride if they indeed possessed no courage, had fled away from 
the Seat of Government of the Keystone State, and the pub- 
lic records were following them to prevent their falling into 
the hands of an enemy known to be destructive and revenge- 
ful, and for the moment believed to be irresistible. When 
the rebels themselves boasted that they were about to teach 
the North all the horrors of war that had fallen upon the 
South in the long contest, — and that in a few days they would 
water their cavalry-horses in the Delaware, if they did not 
achieve the same success at the very banks of the Hudson ; 



THE COWARD 



ind wlicn the newspapers of New York and Philadelphia, for 
the moment completely discouraged, p:ave up the line of de- 
fence of the Susquehanna, and gravely debated whether a 
check could indeed be made at the Delaware, with the loss of 
the Quaker City, or whether the great struggle must at last 
be transferred to the Hudson hills of New Jersey. When 
the Reserves were mustering in Philadelphia, and the Coal 
Kegiments forming in the haunts of the sturdy miners. When 
the Pennsylvania coal-mines were to be set on fire by the in- 
vader, and left to burn on until all the fuel of the nation was 
destroyed, if the " great conflagration" of the whole earth 
did not follow as a result. When more placards calling for 
the defence of the State, were exhibited in the neighborhood 
of old Independence Hall, than had ever shown there, inviting 
the idle to amusement, in the most prosperous seasons of 
opera, theatre and concert-saloon— drums beating at every 
corner, brass bands blowing on every square, patriotic appeals 
and efforts to recruit on every hand, and yet the people ap- 
parently lying under bodily apathy or mental paralysis. 
When Governor Seymour, of New York, and Governor Par- 
ker, of New Jersey, waiving the political question for the 
moment, were calling out the troops of those States to the 
defence of Pennsylvania ; and when the militia of the city of 
New York and the returned nine-months volunteers of New 
Jersey w^ere showing themselves equally ready to respond to 
the call. When the Army of the Potomac seemed for the 
moment to be nothing, even for the defence of the North, 
Hooker discredited, no successor discovered, public confidence 
lost, the very darkest day of the struggle at hand, and no man 
able or willing to predict what might be the extent of disaster 
reached before the rolling back of the tide of invasion from 
the homes of the loyal States. 

Such were the place, the time, the surroundings, and the 
atmosphere (so to speak) of the house of the blended Flemish 
and Elizabethan styles of architecture, at West Philadelphia, 
of which, thus far, only the outward aspects have been pre- 



34 THE COWARD. 

rented. Yet there may be an inexcusable neglect of the pro- 
prieties, in presenting a house, its green lawn, shady trees, 
and even the pleasant landscape stretching away in front of 
it, before those living figures which would certainly have at- 
tracted the attention of an observer in advance of any of the 
inanimate beauties of art or nature. 

Those figures were two in number, both standing on the 
piazza, very near the trellis of climbing roses, and where the 
flecks of sunshine f^U through the leaves upon them and 
dashed them with little dots and lines of moving light, as well 
as the floor upon which they stood. Both were girls — both 
young — both beautiful ; at least each possessed that combina- 
tion of features, fwm and manner, making her very pleasing 
to the casual observer, and certain to l)e reckoned beautiful 
by some ont- admitted to a closer knowledge of the spirit 
enshrined within. They were evidently dear friends ; for 
as they stood near the trellis, and the hand of the taller of 
the two plucked a half-open rose from one of the clusters, 
and she playfully tried to coax it to a fuller opening by 
breathing caressingly upon it and separating its clinging 
leaves with her dainty fingers, — the arm of the other was 
around her waist, and both the trim and graceful forms w^ere 
slightly sw^aying backward and forward in that pleasant, idle, 
school-girl motion which the grown woman does not easily 
forget until it has given the " fidgets" to half her elder ac- 
quaintances. 

The taller and perhaps by a year the elder — she of the rose 
—was the daughter of the mistress of that pleasant summer 
paradise, born to w^ealth and position, and her birth registered 
some two-and-twenty years before in the predecessor of the 
heavy family Bible with its golden clasps, which lay in state 
in the parlor so near her, as Margaret Hayley. She w^as a 
little above the average height of w^omanhood, and might 
have seemed too tall for grace but for the exquisite rounding 
of the lithe form, the matchless fall of a pair of sloping 
shoulders that could not probably be matched within a radius 



TIIECOWARD. 35 

of fin hundred miles, the graceful carriap:e of a neck that 
would have been long if less elegantly poised, the beauty in 
shape and spring in motion of the Arab foot under which the 
water would have run as easily as beneath a bridge, and the 
supple delicacy of the long taper fingers with their rose-tinted 
nails, which seemed perfect and high-blooded enough to have 
a mission of playing among heart-strings as the fingers of 
others might do among the chords of a harp. 

In feature the young girl had quite as many claims to atten- 
tion. The hair was very dark and very profuse — so near to 
black that it needed the sunlight before the golden shadows 
in the dark brown became fully apparent — swept plainly down 
on either side, in the madonna fashion, from a brow that was 
very pure, high and clear. The face was handsomely moulded, 
rather long than broad, as beseemed the figure, rather pale 
than ruddy, though with a dash of healthy color in each cheek 
that belied any momentary suspicion of ill health ; the nose 
a little long and somewhflt decided, but very classic in out- 
line and finely cut at the nostril ; the eyes dark — so dark that 
a careless observer would have lost their brown and called 
them black, and their expression a little reserved if not sad 
and even sometimes severe ; the mouth small and well-shaped, 
with the lips as delicately tinted as the faintest blush-rose in 
the cluster near her, but a shade too thin for the exhibition 
of exuberant passion, and showing a slight curl of pride at 
the corners of the upper; the chin rounded, full, and forming 
a pleasant point for the eye to rest upon as it descended from 
the face to study the contour of neck and shoulders. The first 
appreciative glance at her was certain to be followed by the 
suppressed exclamation: " IIow very handsome!" and the 
second by a thought that the lips did not syllable : " How very 
proud and queenly 1" It might have needed many more than 
a third, before the gazer could go to the full depth of a very 
marked character, and say how much of that queenly bearing 
might be ready to bend at last to the magic touch of the softer 
passions, and how much of that evident goodness and firmness 



36 THE COWART>. 

m\a;ht be employed in oonveying happiness to others than 
herself. Among her peculiarities, she seemed to despise stripes, 
plaids, sprigs, spots, and the other endless varieties of coloi 
in material ; and the la\Vn which swept that morning around 
her erect figure was of a neutral tint and as devoid of spot as 
were arms, ears and neck of any ornament in jewelry except 
a small cameo at the throat, a slight gold chain around the 
neck and descending to the bosom, and a single cluster diamond 
sparkling on the forefinger of the right-hand that was dally- 
ing with the spirit hidden among the rose-leaves. 

No more telling contrast to the tall, majestic girl could well 
have been supplied, than her neighbor and dear friend, Elsie 
Brand (Elspeth, baptismally, for reasons that will hereafter 
develop themselves, but always called Elsie by those admitted 
to the least intimacy.) She was at least four inches shorter 
than Miss Hayley, round and rather plump, though very 
graceful in figure, with a chubby face, ruddy cheeks, piquant 
nose, merry blue eyes, pouting red lips, full hair coming low 
down on the forehead and of that pale gold which the old 
Scotch poets immortalized as "yellow," in so many of their 
lays of the bardic era. Pretty, beyond question, but more 
good and attractive-looking than beautiful ; and if a second 
look at Margaret Hayley would have induced an observation 
having reference to her pride, a second at Elsie Brand was 
certain to bring out the thought if not the speech : " What a 
charming, good little girl !" Perhaps a third, with persons 
not too severely in training for the great Olympian races of 
morality, w^as ver}^ likely to create such a sensation as one 
experiences in gazing at a lusciously ripe peach, having par- 
ticular reference to the pulpy red lips with their fanny pout 
and kissable look, and ending in a wish that the crimson love- 
apples of the modern Hesperides were not quite so zealously 
guarded. 

Elsie had not yet passed her twenty-second birthday, 
though she had been " of age" for a good many twelvemonths, 
in the estimation of those who had come near enough to her 



T H E C O W A R D . 37 

to feel the beating of her warm heart. Doctor James ITolton, 
graduate of the Pennsylvania Medical College, and la-tely a 
student with one who had been a student with David Ilosack, 
held his own peculiar estimation of Elsie Brand, and had 
almost been driven into rank atheism from the necessity of 
both holding and proving that the theory of our springing 
from one common father and mother could not possibly be 
correct, as the clay of which Elsie was made had been so very 
different — so much purer, sweeter and better — from that em- 
ployed in the moulding of ordinary mortals ! 

Eor some minutes the two young girls had been standing 
in silence, Margaret engaged with experiments on her opening 
rose and Elsie with one arm around her and lazily observing 
the operation — both apparently full of that indolent enjoyment 
born of ease, content, and the languid air of the summer 
morning. Then the little one spoke : 

" Margaret, do you know of what I have been thinking for 
the last two minutes ?" * 

" Haven't any machine by which I could pry into the droll 
secrets of your brain, Elsie, my dear !" answered the taller, 
pleasantly, but with no smile upon her lips meanwhile, and 
apparently with all her attention yet absorbed in her horti- 
cultural experiment. 

" Shall I tell you ?" queried Elsie. 

" Certainly, pet, if you like !" was the reply, the tone, as 
well as the w^ord of endearment, showing indefinably that 
Margaret Hayley thought of herself as a woman and yet of 
her companion (of nearly the same age) as little more than a 
child. 

"I was thinking," said the little girl, "how much of char- 
acter is sometimes shown in the action of a moment, and how 
very different we are." 

" Who thought your little head was so philosophical, Elsie ?'^ 
answered Margaret, and this time she for a moment deserted 
her rose and looked around with a pleasant smile. " Well, 
the application of your thought to yourself and to me ?" 



38 THE COWARD. 

" Oh," said the little one. " It was only about the rose. 
I should have plucked it, if I plucked it at all, and enjoyed it 
as it was. You are trying to make something else out of 
it, and yet show no wish to destroy the flower. A cruel 
woman — different from either of us, I hope — would probably 
be plucking off the leaves one by one and throwing them 
away, without caring how much pain she might he inflicting 
on the life of the flower, hidden away down somewhere in 
its heart." 

"A very pretty idea, upon my word !" said Margaret, ceas- 
ing to blow upon and pluck at the leaves, and turning upon 
her companion a countenance showing something like sur- 
prised admiration. "And what do you make of my character, 
Elsie, as shown by my handling of the rose ?" 

"You must not be angry with me, Margaret," answered 
the young girl, a little in the spirit of deprecation, " But 
you see / should have been satisfied with the rose as it was, 
and the other ^vould have been cruelly dissatisfied with it ii^ 
any shape, and you " 

" Well, dear ? I " 

"You showed that you were not entirely satisfied with 
every thing as it was, and that you had a little self-will leading 
you to force things to be as you chose, by trying to make 
that poor little flower outrun the course of nature and bloom 
before it was quite ready." 

" I think you are right, Elsie," said Margaret, nodding her 
head in that slight and repeated manner indicative of answer- 
ing the mind within quite as much as any observation from 
without. " I am not satisfied with every thing in the world, 
Elsie. I am not cruel, I hope and believe ; but I am sharper, 
harder, more requiring than you, and consequently not 
formed for half so much true happiness. I do feel like forc- 
ing things to be what I require, sometimes, and then I sup- 
pose I grow uuamiable." 

" Yoa are never any thing else than a dear good girl, 
with a wiser head than my rattle-pate, and ray own sweet 



THE COWARD. 8^ 

sister that is to be !" and the arm of the speaker went still 
more closely around the slif^ht waist it encircled. A blush 
as delicately roseate as the first flushings of dawn crept over 
the more classic face that bent above her own, the lips above 
came down to meet those pontine^ below, and the two young 
girls were kissing and embracing as if they had been two 
lovers of opposite sexes but very much of one opinion as to 
the best office of the lips. Any delicately-nerved old bachelor 
who should have happened to pass in front of the house 
at that moment and catch a glimpse of the scene just then 
enacted on the piazza, would certainly have fainted away on 
the spot, at the idea of such a waste of the most delicious 
of "raw material." ,^ 

" You may have the rose for your lesson — you see I have 
not spoiled it, after all," said Margaret, when the kiss had 
been given and the rosy flush died away from her own cheek. 

" To give to Carlton ?" asked Elsie, as she held out her 
band for it. 

" No, Carlton must come after his own roses !" was the 
reply, with the least dash of pride in the curling of the 
upper lip. 

"And pluck them himself ?" asked saucy Elsie. 

" Certainly 1" 

" No matter where he finds them growing — on tree, or on 
cheek, or on lips I" continued the young girl, with a light 
laugh. 

For an instant the same flush rose again on the cheek of 
Margaret Hayley ; then she forced it away, smiled, and said : 

"Certainly! why not? Carlton Brand kisses me, some- 
times, and I have more than once kissed him back. What 
is that to you, sauce-box, when we are engaged to be 
married ?" 

" What is that to me ? Every thing ! Joy — happiness — 
to know that I am going to have so dear a sister !" cried the 
little one, throwing both her arms, this time, around the 
pliant waist of Margaret and hugging her in a perfect trans- 



40 T H E C U W A li D . 

port of delight, which seemed quite shared in, though more 
tranquilly, by the object of the demonstration. 

The saddest, cruellest thing in all the lyric drama is the 
blast of De Sylva's horn on Ernani's wedding morning, 
calling him in one instant from happy love to dishonor or 
death. Neither in romance nor in nature should such sud- 
den transitions occur. Alas, for humanity ! they do occur in 
both, not occasionally but habitually. The Duchess of 
Richmond's ball — then Waterloo. De Joinville springs on 
board his flag-ship to sail for the attack on Vera Cruz, in the 
very ball dress in which he has been dancing the whole night 
through with the republican belles at Castle Garden. Tlie 
Pall is over every thing of earth : how sadly and how inevit- 
ably it droops above the Banner ! Xo scene upon earth 
could have been more exquisitely peaceful, and few could 
have been lovelier, than that which surrounded and compre- 
hended those two fair girls in their embrace upon the piazza. 
AYealth, youth, beauty, good feeling, happiness — all where 
there ; and love blent with friendship, for was not the em- 
brace, given by Elsie Brand and accepted by Margaret Hay- 
ley, both given and accepted quite as much for her brother's 
sake as her own ? It was fitting, then, according to the sad 
fitness of earth, that the element of discord should enter into 
the peaceful and the beautiful. 

The officer spurred by, as we have seen him do, gazing only 
with our incorporeal eyes. Both the young girls, just re- 
leasing each other from their embrace, saw the dark cloud of 
war sweeping between them and the sunlit grain fields. Elsie 
Brand shuddered and drew back, as if the incongruity jarred 
her nature. Margaret Hayley instantly lifted her proud neck 
the higher, as if something in Iter nature sympathized with 
every suggestion of the struggle, and as if she was, indeed, 
insensibly riding on with the hurrying horseman. 

"And what does the shudder mean, little one ?" asked 
Margaret, who had plainly distinguished it at the moment of 
release. 



THE COWARD. 41 

" I hate war, and every thing connected with it I" was tho 
reply, the tone ahiiost petulant. 

"And I do not hate it, painful as it may be in many par- 
ticulars," said Margaret, " Force and energy are the noblest 
developments in life. Bravery is the nearest possible ap- 
proach to that divine character which knows no superior and 
consequently fears none." 

"Nearer to the divine than loveV asked the little one. 

Just for one instant, again, that roseate tint on the cheek 
of Margaret, as she said : " Nobler, if not nearer to tho 
divine ; and sorry as I must be to see tho bloodshed caused 
by a civil war in my native land, I am almost glad that it has 
occurred, sometimes, as a means of rousing the sluggish pulses 
of men who would otherwise have stagnated in trade and 
pleasure, and proving that we yet possess something of the 
hero spirit of old." 

"And / am sorry for it all the while, night and day, in my 
prayers and in my dreams," answered Elsie Brand, with a 
sigh. " Hark I" as the tap of the drum came across from the 
lateral road beforementioned. " There is another reminder 
of the curse, and one that comes nearer home. Do you re- 
member, Margaret, that I shall soon have a brother, and you 
a lover, separated from us and in terrible danger ? They say 
Harrisburgh must be taken, unless a very large body of troops 
can reach it at once. The Reserves will probably go on, to- 
night, and Carlton will probably accept his old commission 
again. I do want him to do his duty, Margaret, if it is his 
duty ; but I hope that he will not think so — that he will not 
go away." 

"And / hope that he wiYL^" answered Margaret, her tall 
form drawn up to its full height, and a look of stern pride 
upon her face that could not very well be mistaken. 

" To go into danger — perhaps to death ?" asked Elsie, 
looking sadly at the proud Sibylline face. 

" To a thousand deaths, if necessary, rather than towards 
the least suspicion of a want of true manhood !" 



4.2 THE COWARD. 

"All, you do not know the trembling fear of a sister's love !" 
said Elsie, with a sigh. 

" I know a love fifty times deeper !" said ^Marpraret, the 
pride still on her face, and yet that ever-returniiifr flush 
coming up again to say that if love had not conquered pride 
it had at least divided the dominion. " Listen, Elsie Brand, 
to some words that you may as well understand now as ever. 
There is no one near to hear us, and so it is almost like 
speaking before heaven alone. I love your brother, deeply, 
devotedly, with all the power of my nature — so devotedly 
that if that love should be wrenched aw*ay from my heart by 
any circumstance, I know that my life would thenceforth be 
but one long, wretched mockery of existence. Happy 
natures like yours, Elsie, do not know the absolute agony 
that lies in such love. And yet I could give up that love, 
and my life with it, and would do so, before I would live, love, 
and yet despise /" 

" Despise ? — are you speaking of Carlton — of my brother ?'* 
asked the young girl, apparently a little lost in the myste- 
rious energy of her companion's words. 

" I said that I could not despise," Margaret Hayley went 
on. " I must not, or w^e have no future. Do you know that 
I should have reverenced your brother more, even if I did not 
love him better, if he had not refused the commission in the 
army tendered him at the commencement of the war ? I 
might have wept, perhaps mourned — but I should have idol- 
ized. Now, I only love a mortal like myself, where I might 
have been worshipping a hero 1" 

" Or sobbing over a grave !" said Elsie, with a sigh which 
told how easily she might have been brought to illustrate the 
word she used. 

" What then !" was the quick reply of Margaret. " The 
glory would have been his — the loss and grief would have 
been mine, and I could have borne them. But he did not 
choose to enter the struggle, prominent as he had once 
been in military movements. He had the excuse of business 



THE COWARD. 43 

and occupation, and I have tried to believe that he needed no 
other." 

" Needed ? — what do you mean, Margaret ?" cried Elsie 
Brand in a tone and with a movement of starting back which 
evidenced both pain and alarm. 

" It is a painful thing, but I must say it, to you, as I do not 
know that I could say it to him," pursued Margaret. " I 
mean, that I have tried to believe that there was no flaw in 
my idol — that Carlton Brand, who held every pulse of my 
woman's heart responsive to his touch — did not lack the one 
manly virtue oi courage 1^'' 

"And would you dare to believe my brother — the man you 
have pretended to love — a cowardV^ There was something 
vexed and sharp, almost angry, in Elsie's tone, now, that did 
not promise another immediate embrace like that of a few 
moments previous. Margaret Hayley saw the expression of 
her face, but neither blenched before it nor seemed to feel any 
anger at the manifestation. 

" Elsie Brand," she said, her words slow, measured, and 
with a cadence that was somehow inexpressibly pained and 
mournful, " I am no school-girl, and I am speaking words 
that I mean. I know your brother to be patriotic, I know 
him to be in high health, athletic, vigorous and determined ; 
and have sometimes believed that if he had possessed that 
one requisite, animal courage, he would long ago have been 
fighting the foes of the republic. Grieve as I may to part 
with him, I am glad you believe that he is going with the 
Reserves. He had his choice, before, and I let my own 
heart instead of my reason have sway, and did not question 
its propriety. But were he to hang back now, when his 
native State is invaded and every arm necessary to drive 
back the rebels from Pennsylvania soil, I should know that 
he was a coward I" 

" I don't like you, Margaret Hayley, when your face looks 
so and you talk in that manner !" said the little girl. '' But 
I will not quarrel with you. Carlton is going with the 



44r THE COWARD. 

Reserves, and some day when he is killed or you hear how 
he has shamed all the rest with his bravery, you will be sorry 
for the words you have just spoken !" Just then the little 
yellow-haired girl was the Sibyl, and her prophecy went upon 
record with the wild words of Margaret, to be afterwards re- 
membered — how sadly 1 

" No — do not be angry with me, Elsie," said Margaret, 
taking the hand that had been temporarily released. " You 
have no cause. I have been speaking against my own heart 
all the while, much more than against the man whom I truly 
love. I know him to be noble and true, and I will believe 
him brave. Are you satisfied ? Kiss me 1" and the proud, 
statuesque face once more lost its gravity, to bring back all 
the joyousness into the rounder and merrier one from which 
it had temporarily departed. 

The light summer jockey-hat of Elsie lay just within the 
door, on a chair. With a quick glance at the watch hidden 
under her waist-riband, she stepped within the door, threw 
on her hat, and was about to terminate her somewhat pro- 
longed morning-call, when Margaret took it off again, 
dropped it into one of the vacant chairs, and said : 

" No — do not go away. You have nothing to do at home 
— mother has gone down to the city for the day, you know, 
and I shall be lonely. We shall have some lunch — you may 
call it dinner if it will taste any better, — very soon. Stay 
till the afternoon — cannot you do so, just as well as not ?" 

" I suppose so — no, I must see Carlton — yes, though, 
Carlton will be quite as likely to come here first as to go 
home, if he has arranged to go away — yes, I will stay if you 
wish it so much !" rapidly answered the little one. 

" That is a good girl," said Margaret Hayley, just as she 
might have patted a school hobby-de-hoy on the head. 
" Now run into the parlor and get the very nicest book you 
can find, draw the easy-chair out of the hall, and enjoy yourself 
the best you can for just twenty minutes, while I go down 



THECOWARD. 45 

to the kitchen, in ma's place, and see what progress our new 
Dutch cook has been making." 

She disappeared with the words, and her injunctions were 
acted upon almost as rapidly. In half a minute Elsie had 
the arm-chair out of the hall, and an illustrated work ofl" one 
of the tables in the parlor, and was prepared for her short 
period of indolent enjoyment. 



CHAPTER II. 

The Coming of Carlton Brand — Almost a Paladin op 
Balaklava — Brother and Sister — A Spasm of Shame 
The Confession — The Coward — How Margaret Hay- 
ley HEARD Many Words not intended for her — The 

E.UPTURE and the SEPARATION. 

iNOT long was the young girl, left at the close of the last 
chapter bodily ensconced in an easy-chair on the broad 
piazza, and mentally absorbed in the attractions of one of the 
choicest books in Margaret Hayley's collection, allowed to pur- 
sue her reading undisturbed. Not two minutes had elapsed 
when a horseman, riding a chestnut horse of handsome ap- 
pearance and fine action, came rapidly up from the direction 
of the city, dismounted with the same practised grace that he 
had shown when in the saddle, threw the rein of his horse 
over one of the posts standing near the gate, opened that 
gate and came up the walk, without attracting the attention 
of the young lady on the piazza, or that of any other occupant 
of the house he was approaching. 

Lifting from his brow, as he approached the house, to 
wipe away the slight moisture which had gathered there 
even in riding, the broad-brimmed and low-crowned hat of 
light gray, which so well accorded with his loose but well- 



46 T H E C W A R D . 

fitting: suit of the same color, he gave an opportunity for 
studying the whole man, which could not well have been 
attained under other circumstances ; and both narrator and 
reader may be excused for stopping him momentarily in that 
position, while due examination is made of his most striking 
outward peculiarities. 

He was at least five feet eleven inches in height, with a 
figure rather slight than stout, but singularly erect, sinewy, 
and elastic, every movement giving evidence that the body 
could not well be set to a task beyond its power of endurance. 
The foot was not very small, but well-shaped, and the un- 
gloved hand which held his riding-whip was almost faultless 
in shape and color. The hat removed, a brow rather broad 
than high was seen, with a head w^ell balanced in all the 
intellectual and moral requirements, densely covered with 
light, curling hair, of that peculiar shade which the poetical 
designate as " blonde" and the practical as "sandy." The 
complexion, though the cheeks were a little browned by the 
summer sun, was very fair, and that of the brow as stainless 
as any petted girl's could be. The features were nearly 
faultless in the Greek severity of their outline, the nose 
straight and well cut, the mouth small but with full curved 
lips, the eyes of hazel, widely set. The lower part of his 
face was effectually concealed by a luxuriant full beard and 
moustache, a few shades darker than his hair, and showing a 
propensity to curl on slight provocation. He was a decidedly 
handsome man of twenty-eight to thirty, erect, gentlemanly, 
dignified, and with something in his general appearance 
irresistibly reminding the spectator of the traditional appear- 
ance of those blonde Englishmen of good birth, who seem 
made to dawdle life away without exhibiting one of the 
sterner qualities of human nature, until deadly danger 
shows them to have that cool recklessness of life which 
charged tw^o hundred years ago with Prince Rupert and 
ten years ago with poor Nolan. Yet this was the idea 
more likely to be formed of him and his capabilities, by 



T n E C O W A R D . 47 

strangers and those who lacked opportunity to examine his 
face and manner closely, than by those intimately acquainted 
with both ; for there was an occasional nervousness in the 
movement of the hands, and even of the whole figure, that to 
a close observer would have belied the first-assumed self- 
confidence ; and a something drooping, tremulous, and un- 
decided in the lower lip at the corners, was so w^ell matched 
by a sad and even troubled expression that often rested like 
a cloud over the eyes, that the whole man seemed to be made 
into another self by them. 

Such was Carlton Brand, the brother of Elsie, about whom 
the tongues of the two young girls had wagged so unre- 
servedly but a few minutes before. Such was his appear- 
ance, to the outward eye, as, hat still in hand, he approached 
the piazza. Elsie was sufficiently absorbed in her book, not 
to feel his presence ; and it was not until he was close upon 
her that the young girl saw him, flung down the costly illus- 
trated volume in her chair with less care than might have 
pleased the less impulsive owaer, sprang to the step and 
seized both the occupied hands of the new^-comer, with a 
warmth that showed how cordial was the affection between 
brother and sister, so widely different in appearance and 
indication of character. 

"How did you come here, pet?" the brother asked, as 
soon as his mouth was free from the kiss his sister tendered. 

" Oh, ran across the fields half an hour ago, and intended 
to be back home by this time, only that Margaret was alone 
and wished me to stay ; and besides " 

" Well— besides what ?" 

" Besides, I almost knew that you would stop here before 
you went home, and I should see more of you before you 
went away, by remaining." 

Could the young girl but have seen the quick spasm of 
agony that just then passed over the face of Carlton Brand — 
the agitation and trembling which seized upon lip and hands — . 
she might have been wiser the next moment, but she certainly 



4*8 THE COWARD. 

would not have been happier. Just for that one moment 
there seemed to be lack-lustre vacancy in the eyes, total want 
of self-assertion in face and figure, and the handsome, noblo- 
looking man actually seemed to have collapsed, bowed, and 
sunk within himself, so that he was more an object of pity 
than of envy. But the sister's eyes were fortunately turned 
away at that instant, and she saw nothing. When she looked 
at him aj^ain, the spasm, whatever it might have been, was 
gone, and she only saw his usual self He did not reply to 
her last guggestion, but asked, after an instant of hesitation : 

" Where is Margaret ?" 

" Gone down into the kitchen for a few moments, to look 
after a new Dutch cook, but she will soon return. And so 
you are really going away, brother, and I shall be so lone- 
some 1" and the hand of the sister sought that of the dearly- 
loved brother again, as if every moment lost without some 
touch of one who was so soon to leave her, was lost indeed. 

Even to this the brother gave no reply, but made a remark 
with reference to the rapid ripening of the grain in the 
wheat-fields that skirted the road beyond. A duller wit 
than that of Elsie Brand might have become aware that he 
was avoiding an unpleasant subject; and the young girl 
recognized the fact, but gave it an entirely erroneous expla- 
nation, believing that he must have heard some peculiarly 
threatening news from the scene of the invasion, making the 
peril of the troops about to leave more deadly than it would 
have been under ordinary circumstances, and that he dreaded 
to enter upon the theme at all, for fear of alarming her. As 
a consequence, her next words were a disclaimer of her own 
fears. 

" Oh, Carlton, you need not be afraid to speak" of it to me. 
Much as I have dreaded your going away, I know, now, 
that it is your duty, when your own State is invaded ; and I 
have made up my mind to bear the separation, and even to 
think of you, my own dear brother, as in danger, without 
saying one word to hold you back." 



THE CO W A R D. ^19 

" Have you V That spasm was again upon his face, and 
the words were hoarse ; but again the 03-0 and the ear of the 
sister missed the recognition of any thing unusual. 

"Yes; and so has Margaret." 

"Has she?-' The spasm had not gone off his fiice, and 
the second question was asked even more hoarsely than the 
first. For some reason that the young girl could not under- 
stand, he turned away from her, walked down to the end of 
the piazza, and stood looking oif. What he was suffering at 
that moment, with three or four of the most powerful passions 
known to humanity tearing at his heart-strings at onee, none 
may know who have not passed through the same terrible 
ordeal which he was then enduring. There were only the 
fays who ma3''have been playing among the green grass, and 
the dryads yet lingering among the whispering leaves of the 
maples, looking in at the end of the piazza upon his face : 
had they been human eyes, what of wrestling and struggle 
might they not have seen ! When he turned to walk back 
towards the spot where his sister was standing in surprise 
not unmingled with alarm, his face was again calm, but it 
would have shown, to the observant eye, a calmness like that 
of despair. His words, too, were forced when they came : 

"You and Margaret both, Elsie^ love me so well, I know, 
that you would give up almost any thing to please me ; but 
I do not intend to task either of 3'ou too far. I am not going 
— that is, business detains me so that I cannot — I am not 
going to Harrisburgh." 

" Business !" Elsie Brand had never before, in her whole 
young life, uttered a word so hardly or in a tone so nearly 
approaching to a sneer, as she spoke the single word at that 
moment. Were the words of Margaret Hayley ringing in her 
ear, and did she find some terrible confirmation, now, of what 
had before been so impossible to believe? "Business! — 
what business, Carlton, can be sufficient to keep you at home 
when the}^ seem to need you so much ?" 

"What do you know about it ?" and his tones were harsh 



50 THE COWARD. 

and almost menacing. " Do we ask you women to decide 
what we shall do, where we shall go, and where we shall 
stay ?" 

" Oh, Carlton I" and the cry seemed to come from the very 
heart of the young girl. It was perhaps the first harsh word 
that had ever fallen on her ear, aimed at her from the lips of 
the brother she so adored. God only knew the agony under 
wliich that harsh word had been wrung out, as only he could 
know the agony it might cause I The cry instantly melted 
the heart to which it appealed. Carlton Brand toc>k the 
hand of his sister in his own, kissed her tenderly, and said : 

"Forgive me, Elsie, if I spoke as I should never speak to 
you! But you do not know, sometimes, what moves men to 
harshness which they afterwards bitterly repent." 

"But you are not going with the regiment ?" again she 
asked. 

"Xo ! — I have told you I was not, Elsie !" and the tone 
came very near to being a harsh one, ouce more. 

"I am sorry — very sorry, Carlton!" 

" Sorry ?" and the often-recurring spasm which again 
passed over his features, could not have been unobserved by 
the young girl, for her own face seemed to reflect it. " Sorry ? 
Are you indeed sorry that I am not going into — that I am 
not going to be absent from you ?" 

" Oh, no, Carlton ! heaven knows I am not !" said Elsie, 
and the merry blue eyes were filled with tears. " But I think 
you ought to go ; and you do not know, Carlton, how much 
may hang upon it. Do you love Margaret — really and truly 
love her ?" z 

" Love her ? as my own soul !" answered Carlton Brand. 
He did not say " as his own life^\^ " Why do you ask, after 
all that you have known of our attachment and our engage- 
ment ?" 

" Because, Carlton" — and the young girl, weeping the 
while under an impulse of feeling that she could scared}^ her- 
self understand, caught him by the arm and drew down his 



THECOWARD. 51 

head towards her—" because I believe that if you do not go 
with the Reserves, Margaret will think that you do not do so 

becau.<e oh, I cannot speak the word !" 

"Because what? Speak it out!" and he seemed to be 
nerving himself to meet some shock that was likely to need 
all his energies. 

"Because" in a voice very low and broken — "because 

you are afraid to go — because you are a coward /" 

"Has she said as much ?" and the eyes of the speaker, 
very sad, troubled, and almost wild, seemed still to have 
power to read the very soul of the young girl before him. 
Elsie could not speak at first, but she nodded twice, and 
never death-bell of a condemned criminal rung out more 
clearly or more frightfully on the startled air, tolling the 
knell of a last hope, than the whisper that came at last from 
her lips : 
"Yes!" 

" Then God help me !" came from those of the strong man, 
in such a manifestation of agony as was painful to behold, 
while his hands for one moment clasped themselves together 
as if he would wring them in womanish weakness, then 
went up to his face and spread themselves as if they would 
shut it away forever from human sight. "God help me ! — 
and you, Elsie, despise me if you will, but, oh, help me to keep 
it from her. I dare not go !. I am a coward ! If I should 
go into battle I should disgrace myself there forever, by 
running away at the first fire, and that would break our poor 
old father's heart !" 

" Carlton ! Carlton ! my poor brother !" and the hands of 
the young girl closed around one of her brother's, with so 
warm a pressure as proved that she did not think of any 
shame, disgrace or fault in the connection, but only as the 
announcement of some great misfortune. 

" Yes, Elsie, you have wrung from me the confession that 
I hoped never to be obliged to make to any one but my God. 
I have made it to Him, oh, how many times, and I almost 



bZ TH E C O W A R D. 

feel that lie has forgiven me, as my fellow-men will never do. 
I have been a coward, I suppose, from mv very cradle, and 
heaven only knowd how I have managed to conceal the 
terrible truth from you, all this while I The very sight of 
blood sickens me, even when it is only the blood of beeves in 
a slaughter-house. One spirt from the arm of a man when 
he is being bled sets every nerve to trembling, and sometimes 
sends me fainting to the floor. One moment among the 
horrible sights of battle — the groans, and shrieks, and crash- 
ing bullets and spouting blood of carnage — would drive me 
mad or send me flying away with the curses of my whole 
race ringing in my ears." 

** Oh, Carlton I my poor brother !" repeated once more, 
and in the same tone of heart-broken sympathy, was all that 
Elsie Brand could answer to this humiliation of the one to 
whom, perhaps, next to God, she had ever looked up as to 
His noblest human manifestation of greatness in creative 
power. 

" Do you see what a poor miserable wretch I am ?" he 
went on, apparently forgetful that any one besides his sister 
might be within hearing, and she so absorbed in the grief 
and shame of the revelation that she possessed no more fore- 
thought. " Think of me as an officer in my regiment, and 
know with what a reddened face I must have walked the 
streets when we paraded, conscious that if suddenly called to 
duty — even the quelling of a mob at the street-corner — I 
should be obliged to disgrace myself at once and forever ! 
Think what I have suffered since the war broke out ! — com- 
mission after commission offered me — loving my country as 
I believe man never loved it before — and yet not daring to 
strike one blow in its behalf. Obliged to make slight excuses 
when others have inquired why I did not go to the war — 
obliged to wear a double face, a mask, everywhere and at 
all times — dreading detection every day, and in that detection 
perhaps the loss of my proud father's life and of the lovo 
that has made the only hope of my own — cursing the omen 



THECOWARD. 53 

that unwittingly gave me the brand of the coward in my very 
name — racked and tortured thus, and yet obliged to hold an 
honorable place among my fellow-men— it has been too hard, 
Elsie, too hard ! And now to lose all 1 If she has learned 
to suspect me — T know her brave heart and her proud nature 
— I shall lose her, the richest, noblest thing on earth, half 
grasped, to be mourned for as never man yet mourned for 
woman 1 Do help me, Elsie I Help me to conceal my 
shame — to deceive her, yes — God help me ! — to deceive her 
before whom my very soul should be laid bare — so that she 
will not know me for the miserable wretch and coward that 
I am I" 

And all this while his face was wrought and contorted, at 
short intervals, by those fearful spasms of shame and mental 
suffering ; and ever and anon his hands locked together and 
seemed to wring themselves even beyond his own volition. 
How different he looked, at that moment, from the handsome, 
noble man, in the full pride of mature adolescence, who had 
stepped upon that piazza but a few moments before I 

" I would do any thing- in the world to help you, Carlton ; 
but what can I do ?" faltered the young girl, who saw no 
light beyond the thick, black cloud of shame and ruin slowly 
settling down on the head of her beloved brother. 

" Help me to conceal the truth" — he went on — " to enforce 
any excuse for not leaving the city at this moment ! I know 
it is base and contemptible, but it is for a good purpose, 
Elsie — to save a heart that is already distracted, and a life 
that must be wrecked without it. We may never be placed 
in the same circumstances again — the war may soon be ended 
— if she can only be kept from knowing this, I may never be 
placed in the same peril again, and my whole life shall be one 
long proof that I am not otherwise unworthy of the woman 
I love so madly." 

" It does not need, Carlton Brand !" sounded a voice from 
within — a voice that both recognized but too well ; and out 
of the hall came the figure of Margaret Play ley. 



54 T H E C O W A R D . 

Her words and her manner alike proved that she had heard 
all, or at least enouj^h ; for there was an expression of 
withering contempt flashing out of her dark eye and curling 
her proud lip, not easily to be borne by any person towardfj 
whom they were directed. There did not seem, for the 
moment, to be any thing like pity in her composition ; and 
if there had been love within her heart, it appeared to have 
been so crushed out by one stunning blow that it could never 
bloom again any more than the wild flower ground beneath 
the heel of the wayfarer. Her head was proud, erect, 
haughty, disdainful ; and one who had leisure to examine her 
closely would have seen that the nostril was opening and 
shutting convulsively, as if overwhelming passion was only 
suppressed by the physical act of holding the breath. Elsie 
Brand was too much dizzied and confused to be quite aware 
what had happened or what was about to happen. She 
merely uttered a cry of agitation and fright, and shrunk back 
alike from her brother and the woman who had come to be 
his judge. Carlton Brand saw more, with the quick eye of 
the lawyer and the sharpened perception of the lover. He 
realized that Margaret Hayley had heard his agonized and 
unmanly confession — that anger and scorn had driven away 
from her face the love which had so often and so pleasantly 
beamed upon him — that his doom was sealed. 

With the knowledge came back to him that manliness in 
demeanor of which he had been so sorely in need a moment 
before. In the presence only of his sister, and when pleading 
with her to assist in rescuing him from the pit of grief and 
shame into which he felt himself to be sinking, he had been 
humble, abject, even cowering. Now, and in the presence 
of the woman for whose softened opinion he would have 
given the world and almost bartered his hopes of heaven, — 
he stood erect, and if the spasm of pain did not entirely pass 
away from his face, at least it changed in its character so that 
he was a man once more. 

" I understand vou, Miss Havlev." were the first words he 



THE COWARD. ^^ 



spoke. " You have heard son.e words not intended for your 
ear Tou have been lisleniiu/." . 

v. If vou merely inean that 1 have heard what jas not in- 
tended "for my ear, you certainly speak the truth, Mr. Brand, 
.he replied, catehing the formality of his address at once. 
.■But if you mean that I have listened meanly, or even 
voluntarilv, to words intended to be confidential you wrong 
yourself, ^quallv with me, in saying so. You have spoken 
so loudlv that not only I but even the servants in the house 
could not well avoid hearing you; and there is not much 
. listening' in hearing words almost brawled on a piazza. 

Il.r words were very bitter-they beseemed the l,ps from 
,.hich they flowed. A man who loved her less or, who bad 
fewer of the natural impulses of the gentleman than Carlton 
Brand, might only have thought of the taunt conveyed and 
forgotien tts justice. He did not do so, but bowed at once 
with an air of respectful humility, and said : 

" I beg ten thousand pardons for my hasty speech I was 
:nad when I made it. Certainly you have heard nothing bu 
what you had a right to hear." And then he stood erect but 

^"'poor little Elsie Brand could contain herself no longer. 
How she loved her brother, only the angels knew. How 
easily we pardon, in those of our kindred, what would be 
MeUble di^<'race in the characters of others, all close 
'otrvi of liumanity know too well. Little Elsie Bran, 
was only acting the part of nature in espousing the cause of 
her own blood, and saying, before time enough had elapsed 
for any additional words between the two principals : 

"Margaret Hayley, I say that you are too hard with 
Carlton I If vou had ever loved him, as you pretended, you 
would not be'so ! There, you have not asked my opinion, 

but you have it !" , . j ■»„+ 

The words, though kindly meant, were ill-ndvised. >ot 

even her brother, who had but a few moments before been 



5(5 THE COWARD. 

imploring her assistance, thanked her for what she had then 
spoken. At least he silenced her for the time with — ■ 

" You can do no good now by speaking, Elsie. It is too 
late. Miss Ilayley has something more to say to me, no 
doubt, after what she has accidently heard ; and I am pre- 
pared to hear it." He stood almost coolly, then, the bared 
head bent only a very little, and the face almost as calm as 
it was inexpressibly mournful. So might a convicted criminal 
stand, feeling himself innocent of wrong in intent, beaten 
down under a combination of circumstances too strong to 
combat, awaiting the words of his sentence, and yet deter- 
mined that there should be something more of dignity in his 
reception of the last blow than there had ever been in any 
previous action of his life. 

Twice Margaret Hayley essayed to speak, and twice she 
failed in the effort. If she bad been calmly indignant the 
moment before, Nature had already begun to take its revenge, 
and she was the woman again. Her proud head was bent 
a little lower, and there was a dewy moisture in the dark 
eyes, that could never be so well dried up as in being kissed 
away. Who knows that the proud woman was not really 
relenting — letting the old love come back in one overwhelm- 
ing tide and sweep away all the barriers erected by indigna- 
tion and contempt ? Who knows how much of change 
might possibly have been wrought, had the next words of 
Carlton Brand been such as indicated his belief that the chain 
between them was not yet severed utterl}"? Who knows, 
indeed ? — for his words were very different. 

" Miss Hayley, I have waited for you to speak what I feel 
that you have to say. You have heard words that no 
betrothed woman, I suppose, can hear from her promised 
husband and yet retain that respect for him which should be 
the very foundation of the marriage-bond." 

" I have." The words came from her lips in tones much 
lower than those in which she had before spoken, and she did 
not even look at him as she answered. 



THECOWARD. 57 

" You have heard me declare myself— I know by the face 
you wore but a moment since, that you have heard all this — 
what you hold to be the lowest and most contemptible thing 
on God's footstool — a coward.''^ 

" 1 have. I would rather have died on the spot than heard 
those words from the lips of the man I have— have loved 1" 
The words still low, and some hesitation in those which con- 
cluded the sentence. One would almost have believed, at 
that moment, that of the two the culprit was the down-look- 
ing and low-voiced woman, instead of the man whose god-like 
presence so contradicted the dastardly vice he was confessing. 
" I have no defence to offer," the speaker went on. " If 
you have heard all that I believe, no further explanation is 
necessary. You know the worst ; and as a proud woman, 
with honor unspotted and beyond suspicion, you have a right 
to pass what sentence you choose upon my — my shame, my 
crime, if you will !" 

Perfect silence for an instant, then a broken sob from Elsie, 
whose face was streaming with tears denied to both the 
others, and who was leaning her forehead against the sharp 
corner of one of the columns of the piazza, apparently that 
the slight physical pain thus inflicted might do something to 
still the mental agony that raged within. Then Margaret 
Hayley, as if she had passed through a long struggle but 
conquered at last with a triumph slaying her own soul, raised 
her head, drew in a hard breath, shook back one of the tresses 
of her dark hair which had fallen over her brow, and spoke : 

"Do you know, Carlton Brand— I cannot call you Mr. 
Brand again, for that address is mockery after what we have 
been to each other — do you know what that sentence must 
be, in justice to myself and to you ?" 

" I can guess it, Margaret Hayley," was the answer, the 
prefix changed again in imitation of her, just as she a 
moment before had changed it in imitating him. The inci- 
dent was a mere nothing, and yet suggestive as showing how 
closely the two seemed to study each other, and how much 



58 THE COWARD. 

of real sympathy there must after all have been between 
them. " I can guess it, and I will try to bear it." 

"You can guess it — you do guess it — separation!" said 
Margaret in a low voice that she could not quite render firm. 

"I was not mistaken — I supposed as much," he answered. 
" You are a proud woman, Margaret, and you could not 
marry a man for whom you failed to entertain respect — " 

" I am a proud woman, but a woman still," said Margaret. 
" You whom I have loved so truly, can best guess the depth 
of my woman's nature. But I cannot and will not marry a 
man to whom I cannot look up and say : * This man has the 
courage and the will to protect me in every peril !' " 

" Have you ever had reason to believe that I could not 
and would not protect you, if need came, against all the 
world ?" and his eyes momentarily flashed, at that thought, 
with a light which should not have shone in the orbs of a 
coward. 

" Words are idle, Carlton Brand !" said Margaret. " There 
is no protection so sacredly due as that of a strong man to 
his country. You know it, and I know it as well. The 
man who knows his duty to his country and dares not do it, 
through sheer bodily fear, could not be trusted in any relar 
tion. His wife would not dare trust him, if she knew it ; and 
you have opened my eyes but too painfully. And so, in 
mercy to both, all must be over between us — " 

" Oh, do not say that, Margaret, sister !" broke out Elsie, 
in a more faltering voice than she had ever used in pleading 
for herself since the earliest day of childhood. Margaret did 
not heed her, if she heard, but went on from the point at 
which she had been interrupted : 

"All is over between us, Carlton Brand, at once and for- 
ever, unless " 

" Unless? — what is the possibility you would yet hold out 
to me ?" and the speaker showed more agitation, at that one 
renewed glimpse of hope, than he had done when battling 
against utter despair. 



THECOWARD. 59 

*' Unless you will yet obey the summons that has called 
vou with every other true son of Pennsylvania to the field, 
and prove to me that you did not know yourself or that you 
were endeavoring to play a cruel part in deceiving your sis- 
ter and me I" 

The face of Carlton Brand had been comparatively calm, 
ever since the coming out of Margaret. Suffer as he might, 
most of the suffering had been hidden. Now that face as- 
sumed an aspect that was really fearful to behold. The 
veins on his forehead swelled as if they would burst, his lip 
set hard, his eyes glared as if one touch might have made 
him a maniac, and his hands worked convulsively. All the 
symptoms of extreme terror and of a repugnance which no 
effort could overcome, were imminent in every glance and 
motion ; and something of those phenomena was exhibited 
which we may suppose the Highland seer of old time to have 
shown, when he was carried beyond himself by the invisible 
powers, and saw battle, defeat and horrible death for himself 
or others, slowly unrolling before his spiritual sight. Elsie 
Brand shuddered and drew back to the column which had 
before sheltered her. Margaret Hayley still stood erect, 
though she was evidently laboring under suppressed excite- 
ment, and none could say what the end of this scene might 
be. It was quite a moment before Carlton Brand could com- 
mand himself sufficiently to speak, and then he said in a low, 
broken voice : 

" Ko — I cannot. I cannot kill my poor gray-haired old 
father with the spectacle of the flight and disgrace of his 
only son." 

"And you have decided well," said Margaret. "It is a 
bitter thing to say, but I am glad that you have marked out 
my course as you have done. Think — oh heaven !" and she 
seemed indeed to be for the moment addressing the powers 
above instead of those regnant upon the earth — "think how 
near I came to being this man's wife and the possible 
mother of his children, each one marked with the curse set 



60 THECOWARD. 

upon them bv their father !" No human ear could have 
heard the whisper which followed : " Enough of disgraces de- 
scending from parents — oh, heaven !" 

" You are right, Margaret Uayley — right 1" spoke Carlton 
Brand, his voice lower, more hoarse and broken than it had 
been at any part of the long interview. " You have re- 
minded me well of your duty and mine. The day may come 
when you will be sorry for every word thtrt has fallen from 
your lips ; but it may not. To-day you are doing right — let 
the future take care of itself Good-bye !" 

He took the long, slender white fingers in his, and looked upon 
them a minute, the tears at last gathering in his eyes. Then, 
when through the thickening drops he could scarcely see them 
longer, he raised them to his lips, pressed a kiss upon them, 
dropped the hand and strode off the piazza and away, never 
once looking back as he passed down the path towards the 
gate. 

Margaret Hayley had been overstraining both heart and 
brain, and the penalty asserted itself very soon. Her dis- 
carded lover was scarcely half way down the path when the 
revulsion came, and pride for the moment broke dowm before 
her terrible sorrow. The proud neck bent, she stretched out 
her arms after the retreating figure, the single word, " Carl- 
ton !" came half whispered and half groaned through her lips, 
her eyes closed, and she sunk fainting into the arms of Elsie. 

Carlton Brand did not hear the call. A moment, and still 
wn'thout another glance at the house where he was leaving 
behind the happiness of a life, he had unloosed the splen- 
did chestnut pawing at the gate, swung himself into the 
saddle and ridden away w^estward. He reeled a little in his 
seat as he rode, as a drunken man might have done — that 
was all the apparent difference between the man with a hope 
who had arrived half an hour before and the man who now 
departed without one. 



THECOWARD. 61 



CITArTEU III. 



Kitty Hood and her School- house — Dick Compton going 
Soldiering — A Lovers' Quarrel, a bit of Jealousy, and 
A Threat — IIow Dick Compton met his supposed Rival 
— An Encounter, Sudden Death, and Kitty Hood's 
terrible Discovery. 

" I DO not care, Dick Compton ! You are a mean, good- 
for-uotbing fellow, and the sooner you go away and get 
killed, the better. I hope I may never set eyes on you 
again, as long as I live." 

A pleasant st3^1e of address, especially from a pretty 
woman ; and yet one to which a good many persons have 
submitted, first and last, from little people whom they could 
physically have slain with a single stroke and mentally dis- 
comfited with very little more trouble ! 

The time of this objurgation was the same morning on 
which the events took place which have already been re- 
corded as occurring at the residence of Margaret Hayley, and 
at a very little earlier hour than that which witnessed the 
departure of Carlton Brand from the place of his signal dis- 
comfiture. The place was in front of a little country-school- 
house standing half a mile from the Darby road, northwest- 
ward, and perhaps two miles westward from the Hayleys. 
The interlocutors were Richard Compton (already introduced 
as " Dick" by the flippant tongue of his companion), a young 
and well-to-do farmer of the neighborhood, about a quarter 
of a century old, perhaps some five feet nine in height, thick- 
set, strong-limbed, with a round, good-humored face guiltless 
of beard but browned a good deal by exposure in the field, 
generally smiling and content, but with a spice of the bull- 
dog in his nature which made him sullen occasionally and led 
him always to be very fond of his own peculiar way ; — and 
Kitty Hood, teacher of the district school of that particular 



62 THECOWARD. 

section of the Keystone State, a short, round, rosy little lass, 
with merry brown eyes that only occasionally had a sterner 
kind of mischief in them, dark brown waved hair, aud just 
the last general appearance in the world that a phrenologist 
would have selected for the necessarily calm and dignified 
life of an instructress of callow youth. 

The old weatiier-beaten school-house, erected perhaps fifty 
3''cars before but not yet swept away in the prevailing rage for 
staring new white baby-houses for the instruction of children 
in the country, stood at the base of a slight wooded hill, facing 
southward ; a fine old sycamore near the door holding the 
whole house and all its contents in flecked light and shade ; 
a group of locusts not far awa}^ to the left showing a motley 
jumble of benches beneath, that were evidently the favorite 
lounging-place of the children during play -hours ; and a little 
pond of a hundred or two feet in diameter; with one edge half 
covered with the leaves of the intrusive pond-lilies, and the 
other bordered by a juvenile wharf of stones, old boards and 
bark, supplying the youngsters with a place in which to 
paddle, sail boats and get very wet without any danger of 
being drowned, in summer, and with a reliable though limited 
skating-ground in winter. Its convenience for winter sports 
could only be imagined, at that season of the year when the 
wild-roses were clambering up the dingy boards of the in- 
closure, to the windows of the school-room ; but its inevitable 
use as a part of the great " highway of nations" was too plainly 
shown by a circumstance which, alas ! — at the same moment 
illustrated the vicisss^udes of commerce and the necessity for 
the existence of insurance companies. A stately vessel of 
the mercantile guild, twelve inches in length but with the 
dignity of three masts and each holding spitted on it as a sail 
nearly an entire half-sheet of foolscap paper, had evidently 
left the little wharf during the morning play-hour, freighted 
for the Spice Islands lying up among the pond-lilies, but 
suffered the fate of many sea-going ships, fallen under the 
power of foul winds or adverse currents, and stranded on a 



T H E C O W A R D . 63 

reef of mud some paces from the shore, from which the in- 
g-eniiity of her factors had not 3'et been able to release her, 
and where she hiy " keeled over" in a manner equally con- 
taminating to her white paper sails and unpleasant to her 
possible passengers. No doubt anxious eyes were meanwhile 
glancing out of the windows, between two leaves of the 
geography which detailed the perils of navigation in the 
East Indian archipelago, to see whether piratical canoes or 
pirogues did not put off to burn that noble vessel and mas- 
sacre her crew, before noon should give time for any further 
efforts towards her release. Here the course of this narra- 
tion painfully but necessarily loses sight of the good three- 
master " Snorter, of Philadelphia," as many another of the 
fairy barks launched by inexperienced youth disappears from 
view and is known no more forever ; but let us hope that this 
particular venture was floated off at some early " springtide" 
of play-spell, and that she ''came safely to her desired 
haven !" 

Within the little one-story school-house, with its unpainted 
desks and benches of pine, dark with age and scarred by notch 
and inscription from the penknives of half a century of school- 
boys, — there was going on, at that moment, precisely what 
may be seen in any school from Windsor to Washoe, when 
the ruling power is temporarily absent. Wilkie painted not 
only from life, but from the inevitable in life, when he drew 
the "Village School in an Uproar;" for mobs have been put 
down by the military power and even savage communities 
have been made quiet by the exercise of powder-and-ball ; 
but no force has yet been discovered that could check (and 
who would wish it to be entirely checked, after all ?) the 
riotous mischief of the school-room when the terrible eye is 
removed I Five minutes before, Mistress Hood in the chair 
of authority, fifty heads of all hues and all textures had been 
more or less closely bent down over book and slate, and a 
low monotonous hum, something like the sleepy drone from a 
score of bee-hives, had been heard floating out on the summer 



64 T H E C O W A R Lt . 

air. isow, Mistress Kitty Hood liad been just two ruinutes 
absent from the school-room, and a nice little Pandemonium 
was already established, that it would need some birchings 
and many strong words to annihilate. Half a dozen of the 
big boys had gathered into a knot, not far from the door, and 
were snickering aloud and pointing knowingly towards the 
point o^ interest without, with running comments on " Miss 
Hood's beau 1" Three little girls, forgetting their sex, were 
playing at leap-frog between and over two of the benches, to 
the disarrangement of their short skirts and the eventual 
tumbling over of one of the benches with a loud clatter. 
Two or three of the larger girls were in close conversation, 
about what there is no means of knowing except that one of 
them remarked that "it was real indecent and she meant to 
tell her ma !" One boy, who was the possessor of a mag- 
nificently national handkerchief, had stuck it on the end of 
the long ruler from the mistress' desk, and was going through 
a dress parade of one, with a feeble whistle as music. A 
young brute was taking the opportunity of pinching the ear 
of a smaller boy, and making him whimper, as a punishment 
for some previous alleged injury. Another had made a pair 
of spectacles out of blue paper, and stuck them on the nose of 
a little girl on one of the near benches, who blushed so rosily 
that her white dress, blue spectacles and red face quite sup- 
plied the national colors. And still another, with cheeks 
marvellously distended, was trying whether he could, in the 
short space of time during which the mistress might be absent, 
manage to choke down three early harvest-apples without 
dying by strangulation or requiring any assistance from bis 
companions. 

Such were the surroundings of the country school-house, 
and such was the aspect of Kitty Hood's little school-room 
during her temporary absence. And now what was the 
necessity which had for the moment withdrawn her from her 
charge, and what vras the provocation under which the words 
were uttered, given at the commencement of this chapter ? 



T 11 E O O W A R D. 0.) 

Perhaps the perRonal apponrance of Dick Oompton may pro 
ar. least a little distance towards the explanation. As ho 
Btood kickinp: his foot ap^ninst the lower step of the school- 
x.onse door and listenino: to the words of petnlance which his 
mistress so plentifully bestowed npon him, it was to be seen 
that while his coat was a sack of (n-dinarvlii^ht summer-stuff, 
lookinp^ civil and homelike enonprh, his pants and cap were 
both ^vay and military, accordins: to the pattern of the 
Reserves. Under his arm he held a bundle which mip^ht 
very easily have contained the coat necessary to make the 
uniform complete; and such was, indeed, the composition of 
the parcel. Dick Compton, never before connected with any 
military organization, had the night before determined to 
abandon home and the girl he loved, leave other hands to 
gather in the fast ripening harvest, intrust his favorite pair 
of farm-horses to the care of his younger brother and the 
liands on the farm, and make at least a small part of the 
response to the urgent call of Governor Curtin. He had 
been down to the rendezvous, to sign the roll of membership 
in the Res.erves, and to get his uniform, that morning. He 
was to leave with the regiment for Harrisburgh, that evening, 
and it was on his way home to the pleasant farm-house lying 
a couple of miles northward and across the main road leading 
up from Market street, that he had called at the school-hous*^ 
to make his adieux to Kitty Hood, wiiich seemed to be so 
ungraciously received. 

They were so indeed. Kitty, from the moment when Comp- 
ton tapped at the door and called her out amid the surprised 
glances and then the tittering of the school-children — from 
the moment when she had observed his military cap and 
pants — had understood the whole story and put herself not 
only on her dignity but her unamiability. She had not smiled 
even once upon him, or allowed him to take her hand, though 
he reached out for it; and though the jolly round face of the 
school-mistress was not by any means the pattern of coun- 
tenance that could be made stupendously awful by the greatest 
4 



6Q T H E «J O W A U D . 

amount of efl'ort, yet Kitty had done her best to be royal — 
not to say imperial. To his explanations she had been worse 
than the traditional "deaf" — insultingly interrupting; and 
to his asseverations that the country needed the heart and 
the arm of every true man, she had answered with that uu- 
romantic but unanswerable word : " fiddlestick T' She had 
tried wheedling, coaxing, scolding, every thing but crying, 
in the effort to make him forego his resolution and take off 
his name (supposing that he could do such a thing) from the 
roll of the Reserves. She bad no doubt, and expressed her- 
self to that effect, that if he went to Harrisburgh he would 
come back in a coffin, all cut up into little bits by the savages, 
or not come back at all and have his skull and bones used for 
a drinking cup and a few necklaces by the women of Seces- 
sia, or come back in a condition worse than either, with both 
legs cut off close up to the body, one arm gone and his skull 
broken in, and a pretty thing for a respectable young woman 
to marry ! 

It was very well, for the sake of his adherence to his patri- 
otic purpose, that Dick Compton had in him that dash of 
bull-dog tenacity to vrhich allusion has before been made ; 
for it is not every man to whom such words of spiteful proph- 
esy and determined discouragement, coming from the lips 
of a pretty woman who made her own love the excuse for 
uttering them, would have been without their effect. They 
might as well have been uttered to one of the granite gods of 
■^Id, as to Compton, so far as moving him to any change of pur- 
pose was concerned ; but his temper was by no means of as 
good proof as his determination. In fact, Kitty Hood's 
spiteful expostulations very soon made him ill-natured if not 
angry ; and by the time the culmination already recorded was 
reached, he was quite ready to say, in a tone corresponding 
to her own : 

"Well, I will go, Kitty Hood, whether you like it or not. 
t was a fool not to go away without walking a mile further to 
iet you know any thing about it." 



THE COWARD. 67 

" Nobody asked you !" was the petulant reply. 

"Nobody need to ask me, next time !" was the rejoinder. 
" I have a right to be killed, if I. please, and it is none of your 
business whether I am or not. A pretty world it would be, 
with half of it made up of women too weak and too cowardly 
to fight a cat, and the other half of men tied fast of their 
apron strings, so that they had to ask every time they wanted 
to go away, just as one of your little whelps of school-boys 
whines : ' Please to let me go out !' '^ 

Kitty Hood was finding a tongue quite as sharp as her 
own, by this time, and the effect was very much what is often 
seen in corresponding cases. Finding her lover growing as 
angry as herself, and a little more violent, the young school- 
mistress concluded that it was time to assume a less decided 
demeanor, so that if they must part they might do so without 
an absolute quarrel. 

"Well, Dick," she said, after a moment of pause, "there is 
no use of your being angry about it !" Just as if she had not 
been showing ill-temper from the beginning — the minx ! 
" Of course I cannot hold you, and do not wish to do so, if 
you prefer dressing yourself up in that ridiculous manner and 
standing up to be shot at, to remaining here with ??ie." 

" I don't prefer it, you know I don't, Kitty !" said Dick, 
aware that his flank of conversation had once more been 
turned and himself placed in a false position. 

But here came an interruption. A young gentleman of 
seven made his appearance in the door of the school-room, his 
hands blacker than the proverbial ace-of-spades, his nether 
raiments spotted, and his face drawn into a most comical whim- 
per, while his words came out between a sob and a hiccough : 

" Please, Miss Hood, won't you colne in to Jem Stephen- 
son ? He has gone and upsot the inkstand all over my hands 
and spoilt my new trowsers !" 

"Go in and keep your seat, you young villain, or I shall 
flog you and Jem Stephenson both !" was the consoling 
assurance with which the "young villain" departed; while 



(38 TIIECOWARD. 

the hum from the school-room was evidently increasing, 
and the 3^oung sehool-niistress felt that she must indeed suuu 
resume the reins of governnient if she was not to be perma- 
nently left without a realm worth ruling. But she took time 
to rejoin to Compton's last assertion. 

" I don't know any thing of the kind. I say that if you 
thought half as much of me as you did of public opinion and 
making a show of your fine new clothes, you would not stir 
one step." 

"Now, Kitt}', do be reasonable — " again began Compton. 

" Look at other people — don't they respect the wishes of 
those they expect to marry ?" the young lady went on, not 
heeding his last attempt. " See — there is Carlton Brand — who 
does not know that he has remained at home ever since the 
war broke out, though he could have been a Colonel and 
perhaps even a General — just because he was really in love 
with Margaret Hayley, and she did not wish him to leave 
her?" 

It is scarcely necessary to say, at this stage of the narra- 
tion, that Miss Kitty Hood was "begging the question." 
She had never heard one word to indicate why Carlton Brand 
had not accepted his opportunities, and she merely mentioned 
the two as people of prominence in the section, acquaintances, 
and the first pair of lovers of whom she happened to think. 
But she had made a terrible blunder, as many of us do at the 
very moment when we seem to be performing the very keenest 
of operations. Carlton Brand — one of the finest-looking men 
to be found within a radius of an hundred miles, a member 
of one of the liberal professions, and known to be wealthy 
enough to afford indulgence in any line of life which he 
might happen to fancy — was naturally an object of envy 
if not of suspicion to hundreds of other young men who 
did not feel that they possessed quite the same advantages. 
Young farmers, who chanced to catch him saying a polit-e 
'wcrd to their sisters, looked at him through eyes not too 
confiding, in spite of the fact that not even rumor had pointed 



THE COWARD. 69 

out a sinj^le instance in which he had indulged in a dishonor- 
al)le amour ; and those who detected him in glances of kind- 
ness (perhaps of admiration) towards demoiselles whom they 
had marked out as their own destined marital property, had 
a bad habit of even looking out of the corners of their eyes 
and scowling a little, at such manifestations. Carlton Brand, 
in all this, was only paying a very slight penalty for his triple 
advantage of wealth, position and good looks, while many 
others pay the same unpleasant toll to society for the posses- 
sion of even one (and sometimes none) of the three favors of 
fortune. 

The farm-house of the Comptons and the residence of the 
Brands (as will be hereafter made apparent) lay but a very 
short distance apart ; and the little house (perhaps it might 
with more propriety have been called a cottage) in which 
Kitty Hood had seen the light, and where she lived with her 
quiet widowed mother, was still nearer to the abode of the 
young lawyer. Though the Hoods were much more humbly 
circumstanced than their neighbors, intercourse between the 
two families had always been frequent, with a very pleasant 
friendship between Elsie and Kitty, and more visits of the 
young girl at the residence of the Brands, and of Carlton, 
accompanying his sister, to that of the Hoods, than at all 
pleased the lover and expectant husband of Kitty. Then the 
latter bad a head a little giddy and a tongue more than a 
little imprudent; and she had shown the bad taste, many 
times since their tacit engagement, to draw comparisons, in 
the presence of her lover, to his disadvantage^ and in favor of 
a man who had much better opportunities than the farmer 
for keeping his clothes unimpeachable, his hands unsoiled, 
and his cheek unbrowned. Only very imprudent people, 
and perhaps very unfeeling ones, use such words ; but thfty 
are used much too often, ignoring the pure gold that may lie 
within a rough nugget, and preferring the mere tinsel leaf on 
a bit of handsome carving. Kitty Hood was one of the 



70 T H E C O W A K D . 

thoughtless, and she was likely, some day, to pay the penalty 
in a manner she little anticipated. 

Within the few weeks previous, without Kitty being at all 
aware of the fact, Mr. Dick Compton had allowed himself to 
ruminate more than was healthy upon the glances he had 
chanced to see interchanged between Kitty and her "stuck- 
up lawyer friend," as he chose to designate him, and upon 
the continual commendations which she chose to bestow 
on the latter — until rooted personal dislike and something 
very near to positive jealousy, had been the result. Walking 
over towards the rendezvous that morning, if one shadow of 
hesitation on the subject of going to Harrisburgh had passed 
through the mind of the young farmer, it was caused by his 
dislike of leaving Kitty out of view, with Carlton Brand in 
the same near neighborhood. All that difficulty had been 
removed by the understanding that the lawyer was to leave 
at the same time and on the same service with himself; but 
when Kitty at once revived the obnoxious name with a new 
phrase of commendation, and signified that the section was 
not to be relieved of the lawyer's presence during his own 
absence, it is not very strange that the unreasonable demons 
of jealousy began tugging again at his heart-strings, and that 
he felt like performing some severe operation upon tho 
Mordecai who sat in his gate, if he could only catch him ! 

" So you have got to quoting Carlton Brand again, have 
you I" he responded to Miss Kitty's citation. " I thought 1 
had told before that I had heard nearly enough of that proud 
puppy I" 

"'Puppy' indeed!" and Miss Kitty fired in an instant. 
" He's nothing of the kind, but a man and a gentleman, and 
you know it, Dick Compton !" 

"Oh, yes, a geiitlemaii, and ih^t suits you to a turn, Kitty 
Hood!" was the sneering reply. "When your g*^'ntiemen 
arc in the way, you think that an honest hard-working man 
is nobody." 

If ever a man spoke an unjust word to a woman (and it is 



THE C O W A K I) . 71 

to be feared that a great many have been uttered since the 
unfortunate gift of ppeech was conferred upon the race), Dick 
Compton was stupidly unjust at that moment. For the very 
quarrel (it was but little else, from first to last) in which 
they were engaged, had originated in the young girl's evident 
anxiety for his safety and pleading that he would nut go 
awav and leave her, even for a short period ! Kitty Hood 
felt the injustice, if he did not, and all the old rage came back 
again, in a varied form, but hotter than ever. Her eyes 
flashed, she choked for a moment, and then, before Dick Comp- 
ton could be at all aware what was about to happen, the 
scliool-mistress drew her little white hand back and ))rought 
him a ringing box on the ear and cheek, that the latter would 
not be very likely to forget for a fortnight, — while she flashed 
out : 

" Dick Compton, just take that for a fool 1 You are not 
worth any honest woman's loving, with your mean jealousy. 
You can go where you please, and I will never speak to you 
again until you learn better manners than to talk to me in 
that manner !" 

Before the jealous lover had half recovered from the blow 
she stepped away from him and put her foot on the sill of 
the door, to re-enter. Compton, spi.te of the tingle in his 
cheek, did not quite believe in the propriety of parting in that 
manner, when he was just going to the war ; and he made a 
step towards her. 

" Kitty ! — oh, now, Kitty — " 

" Keep off, Dick Compton ! Good-day and good-bye, and 
nobody cares where you go or how long you stay !" was the 
forbidding rejoinder, as the school-mistress swung herself 
round the jamb of the door and half disappeared. Her blood 
was at fever heat : that of her lover was likely to be at the 
same pitch in a moment. 

" You won't come back, then ?" 

" No, I won't !" 

" Then I will tell you something, Kitty Hood I" and the 



72 T H E C O W A K D. 

young man was very angry and very earnest when Le made 
the threat. " If I ean catch Carlton Bran«l before I go away 
tornight, I will just flog him till he is the nearest to a dead 
man you ever saw, — and see how you both like it !'' 

Without another word the young farmer turned and strode 
round the corner of the school-house with his bundle and his 
intlignation, making hasty strides up the hill and towards the 
woods that lay in the direction of his home. Kitty Hood 
saw thus much, and realized that very probably she was look- 
ing at him for the last time. Then she realized, too, what 
she had scarcely felt before — that she had been terribly to 
blame in the quarrel — that she might have been wrecking the 
liappiness of a life by her ill-temper — and that it would never 
do to let poor Dick go away to the war, so angry at her that 
if killed his last thought would be upon every one else rather 
than her, and that if he returned he would never come near 
her again — never ! Then poor Kitty dropped her head upou 
her desk, heedless of the only partially-hushed randemonium 
around her and the necessity of settling with Master Jem 
Stephenson, spiller of ink and others, ■ — dropped her head upon 
her desk and sobbed loudly enough for some of the children 
to be quite aware of the fact, so that one of the little boys 
hazarded the remark, sotlo voce : " Wonder what is the matter 
W'ith her !" and a bigger one enlightened his ignorance with : 
" Why, didn't you see ? Her beau has got on sojer clothes 
and is going away — stupid !" 

Only a minute or two, and then Kittv Hood could endure 
the struggle no longer. She was very unhappy and not a 
little penitent. She could not remain any longer in the 
midst of those noisy children : she mu.<t go home (or else- 
w^here) and see what facilities fate might yet throw in her 
way for seeing and speaking once more to her angry lover 
before his departure. Perhaps she could even Gnd some means, 

still, for inducing him to remain, and then . And at 

that thought the school- mistress raised her head, informed 



1^ H p: cow a R D . 6 

hoY school that she had a bad headache and must go home to 
bod, and dismissed them for a half-holiday. 

Whereupon one of the larjj^cr girls, who had seen the lovor 
go away, without hearing any of the parting words, and who 
thought that she understood all about the affair, remarked to 
OHO of lior companions that : " That was real nice, and she 
ili.)ught all the bettor of Miss Hood for it !" while one of the 
liirger boys, unawake as \'et to any of the softer feelings, 
bawled out to his mates that : " Miss Hood was going to see 
her old beau of^ — ki-yah !" It is painful to be obliged to say, 
justifying previously-expressed apprehension, that even the 
stranded vessel was forgotten in the haste with which the 
school separated, and that all the imaginar}" pirates of the 
Society, the Friendly and various other islands that main- 
tained every thing else rather than friendly society for sailors, 
liad at least one day more of chance at her with their canoes 
and pirogues. 

Her scholars dismissed, Kitty Hood took time to wash and 
cool her eyes and to smooth her hair, for a moment^, at the 
little wash-closet in one corner of the school-room — then 
flung on her light bonnet and gauzy mantle and took her way, 
walking somewhat rapidly in spite of the heat of the coming 
noon, along the path that led around the base of the hill north- 
westward towards the residence of Carlton and Elsie Brand. 

Mr. Richard Compton had meanwhile been walking yet 
more rapidly, with his bundle under his arm, up the path 
loading over the hill, almost due north, and through the bolt 
of woods discernible from the school-house. AVhether the 
increasing heat of the day added to the heat of his temper is 
uncertain ; but certain it is that he did not at all cool down 
under it. He had tlie excuse of being the party lad ill-used, 
if not indeed the party Jirnt so treated. He loved Kitty 
Hood beyond all reason, and he was of course the person 
most likely to grow angry at her and jealous of her, beyond 
all endurance. He felt that he could not worse punish her, 
or better satisfy himself, than by carrying out his threat and 



74 T H E C O W A R D . 

soundly flogging Carlton Brand if he should once catch hira 
under proper circumstances; Le had no doubt whatever of 
his ability to flog him or "any other man," when he once set 
about the task; and while surmounting the hill, and even 
after plunging into the cool, thick, Icufy woods, full of the 
twitter of birds and the fragrance of June blossoms, which 
should have had the power to soften passion in the breast of 
any man who held a true S3^mpathy with Nature, his mental 
fists were clenched and his teeth set in a manner most 
threatening for any opposing force with which he might 
happen to be brought into contact. 

That " opposing force" was much nearer than the young 
man at tl^e moment imagined. He was just emerging by the 
path to the main road which he was to cross, half a mile 
before reaching his own farm, when he saw a horseman 
riding rapidly up from the eastward. Intersecting the path 
just where it joined the road, was a blind road leading through 
the woods across toward the Darby, and closed at the entrance 
by a swinging gate. There was a low panel near it, and the 
young farmer leaped it in preference to unfastening the 
clumsy latch — finding himself, when beyond the fence, in the 
presence of Carlton Brand, who had just reined in his horse 
at the gate. Whatever there may have been in the face of 
the horseman at that moment, within a few mfnutes after his 
leaving the presence of Margaret Hayley and his sister, the 
eyes of Dick Compton w^ere not sufficiently keen to recognize 
it. He only saw the handsome, proud-looking young lawyer, 
and his old antipathy rose, with the remembrance of the 
threat he had just used, accompanying it. Carlton Brand 
saw nothing more in the face of the young farmer than he had 
been accustomed to see, and accosted him as he might have 
done any other acquaintance, under the same circumstances, 
with a request for a slight service. 

" Ah, Compton, is that you ? — just be kind enough to throw 
open that gate for me, will you ?" 

" Xo — I'll not do any thing of the kind. If you w^ant the 



THE COWARD. 75 

gfite open, just get otV and open it yourself!'' was the surly 
reply, very much to the ustunishment of the lawyer. His 
face paled a little, then flushed, and he hesitated for aa 
instant before he asked : 

"AVhat do you mean, Richard Compton, by answering me 
in that manner ?" 

"What I say !" answered Compton, quite as insolently as 
before. " You are a puppy, Carlton Brand, and I have half 
a mind to take you off that horse and flog you soundly, 
instead of opening a gate for you." 

" The d 1 you have I" was the very natural reply. 

" Well, Dick Compton, I do not know what it is all about, 
but you are behaving very much like a ruflian, to a man who 
has never done any thing worse to you than to treat you like 
a gentleman." 

** You lie, Carlton Brand, and you know it !" was the re- 
sponse. 

" I lie, do I ?" and the speaker shifted a little uneasily in 
his saddle, though he made no apparent movement to alight. 

"Yes, you lie !" said Compton, his voice thick and hoarse 
with agitation and anger. " And if you will get off that 
horse I will teach you a lesson about meddling with other 
people's property, that you will remember for a twelvemonth." 

If Carlton Brand's face expressed intense surprise, it was 
certainly nothing more than he felt ; for w^hat the " meddling 
with' other people's property" could mean, except that he 
might unwittingly have run across some interest of Compton's 
in the pursuit of his profession, he had no more idea than he 
could have had of the number of trees in the adjoining wood 
or the depth of soil on which Lis horse was standing. Yet 
he threw his leg at once over the saddle, at the last saluta- 
tion, sprang to the ground, flung his bridle over one of the 
posts near the gate, and said : 

" Now then !" 

In an instant and without another word, Dick Compton, 
who had dropped his bundle as the other dismounted, sprang 



76 THE COWARD. 

at him, fury in his face and the clench of determined hostility 
in every nerve. Probably no battle on earth was ever fought 
so singular!}^ — the one combatant without the least cause for 
his rage, and the other not even acquainted with the accusa- 
tion made against him. They seemed not badly matched, in 
physical force, though any connoisseur of the exclusively 
muscular would have considered Compton likely to be by far 
the most enduring. He was fifteen or twenty pounds the 
heavier, and fully trained by field labor ; Brand two or three 
inches the taller, athletic, and a little the longer armed. 

Half a dozen blows were rapidly exchanged, before either 
succeeded in breaking the guard of the other. Then Comp- 
ton managed to reach the lawyer's cheek, with a blow of 
some violence that probably stung wMthin quite as much an 
it did without. At all events it brought a new color to his 
face, and from that instant he was cool no longer. He struck 
out more rapidly and angrily, and Compton followed his 
motion. In less than a minute half a dozen blows had reached 
the faces and bodies of each, and there was a probability that, 
whatever the event of the fight, both would be injured as well 
as disfigured. Suddenly, the instant after, as Compton aimed 
a well-directed blow at the throat of his antagonist, that he 
believed would entirely settle the affair, something happened, 
U[ion which he had not calculated. Whether his blow was 
entirely fended he did not know ; but what he did know, so 
far as he knew any thing, was that Carlton Brand's right'fist, 
dashed out with a force little less formidable than the kick of 
an iron-shod horse, struck him on the left of the nose and the 
cheek adjoining, sending a perfect gore of blood spouting 
over face and clothing, and throwing him reeling backward, 
stunned and half senseless, to the earth, — the fight over, so 
far as he was to bear any part in it. 

There was onl}- a little sensation left in poor Compton at 
that juncture, but that little cried out against being beaten 
down in such a manner by a man whom he had before con- 
sidered his inferior in muscular power, and whom he had set 



THE COWAKP. 77 

/ 

out to floo^. The bull-dog within him wished to rise and 
iiuike another effort, but for a moment his eyes would not 
open and his head woul<l not clear sufficiently for him to 
make any effort at reg-aining his lost perpendicular. AVhen 
he thought he heard a groan and aloud '' tiuid" on the ground, 
and he did manage to struggle to a sitting position, the 
sight that met his eyes was nearly sufficient to drive him 
back into his partial insensibility, amazement and horror 
bt'ing about equally compounded in the spectacle. Carlton 
Brand lay at length on the ground, his face set in a frightful 
spasm, a thin white froth issuing from the set lips, the eyes 
closed, and not even a quiver of motion in the limbs. Dick 
Compton sprang up, then, with a supernatural energy bom 
of absolute fright, and bent over his prostrate antagonist. 
To all appearance he was dead ! — dead as if he had been 
lying there for the last century ! The frightened farmer put " 
his hand to his temples, his pulses and his heart, and found 
uo motion whatever. Then the dreadful fear took possession 
of him that his own last blow, which he remembered aiming 
at the throat of the other, might have taken effect there at 
the same moment when he was himself struck and prostrated 
. — that some vital part of the throat might have been touched 
and death instantly ensued ! 

To say that Dick Compton was frightened and even horri- 
fied at this unexpected issue of the pugilistic combat which 
he had forced, is indeed to put the case very mildly. He was 
literally paralyzed, for the moment, with consternation. What 
was his fate ? — to be a homicide ! And — good God ! — here 
another thought took possession of him. He had left Kitty 
Hood at the school-house, only a little while before, himself 
angry and in a dangerous mood, and with his last words 
threatening personal violence against Carlton Brand 1 If 
he should be dead — and there seemed to be no hope to the 
contrary — what words of his could ever persuade the schpol- 
mistress that he had not entertained enough of jealousy and 
anger against the lawyer to desire his death ? — and how far 



78 T H E - C O W A R I) . 

would not Kitty's evidence go in proving before a criminal 
court that he was an intentional murderer ? 

Such reflections are not pleasant, to say the least ! A very 
few of them go a great way in a man's life. Those who have 
been placed, even for ,one moment, in the belief that they 
have suddenly become homicides, need not be told how far 
beyond all other horrors is the feeling : those who have 
misled the sensation, may thank God with all reverence for 
having spared them one of the untold agonies which belong 
only to the damned ! 

Dick Compton was not one of the most delicate of men, 
either in action or perception, but he was a good fellow in 
the main, with quite enough of intuition to foresee the worst 
perils of a situation, and with quite enough of presence of 
mind to act quickly in a desperate emergency. There was 
yet no breath or motion in the prostrate man : he would die 
very soon if not already dead : something might yet be done for 
him : but that something, if done at all, must be done at once. 
Besides, if death should prove to be real, he would himself be 
a little better circumstanced if found trying to preserve the 
life of his antagonist, than if discovered to have let him die 
without effort. A mile to the westward, and at the side of 
the very road at the edge of which he was standing, was the 
residence of one of the two doctors of the immediate section, 
and medical assistance might be procured, with the aid of the 
fallen man's horse, in a brief period. 

With this thought" in mind, and in far less time after the 
occurrence of the catastrophe than it has needed to put it 
upon record, Dick Compton had unfastened the horse of 
Carlton Brand from the post, swung himself into the saddle, 
and was galloping away westward, a little doubtful in mind 
whether he was indeed going after a doctor or looking fur a 
convenient. gallows and a hangman, — and iwishing, from the 
bottom of his soul, that he had never entertained quite so 
good an opinion of his personal prowess as that which 
had led him into such a terrible position. Once, as he 



T U E C O W A H I). 79 

galloped ou, be caught sight of his new military trowsers, and 
found himself thinking whether, when they hung soldiers, 
they allowed them to retain their uniform or subjected them 
to the degrading alternative of the prison gray! And that is 
all, of the very peculiar reflections of Mr. Dick Compton as 
he sped away after the doctor, that needs to be put upon 
record. 

Kitty Hood, meanwhile, leaving the school-house perhaps 
ten minutes after her lover, had sped along the path at the 
base of the woods, intent on going over to the residence of 
the Brands and seeking advice, if not assistance, from Elsie, 
in her dilemma. She had quite overcome her anger, now, 
and taken into her young heart a full supply of that which 
very often follows the former — anxiety ; and her feet moved 
as glibly, in the better cause of reconciliation, as her tongue 
had done not long before in a very unreasonable lovers' 
quarrel. 

The path she was pursuing would have led her out to the 
main road, which she must cross to reach the Brands', some 
half a mile further west than the point at which the gate gave 
access to the blind road through the wood. But there was a 
little spot of marshy ground before reaching the road ; she 
remembered that her shoes were thin and that wet feet were 
disagreeable even in June, and as a consequence she struck 
into a cross path which intersected the blind road and would 
bring her out at the gate. As a secondary consequence, she 
followed that road and came out a minute after at the gate, 
to open it without observing what lay beyond, and to start 
back with a scream of affright as she saw the body of Carlton 
Brand lying on the green sward without, his face still set in 
that terrible contortion, and the rigidity of death alike in limb 
and feature. 

The young girl had seen but little of death, and n,ot yet 
learned to regard it rather as a deliverance than otherwise ; 
and in any shape it frightened her. How natural, then, that 
she should regard it with peculiar horror when she came 



80 THE COWARD. 

upon it alone, by a wood-side, and in the person of an 
acquaintance equally admired and respected ! But what 
must have been her feelings when, the moment after, and 
before she had commanded herself sufficiently to do more 
than utter that single scream of terror, she saw a bundle lying 
near the apparently dead man, saw blood staining one of his 
hands and the grass beside him, and recognized the bundle as 
the same she had seen, not half an hour before, under the arm 
of Richard Compton ! 

If that unfortunate young man, on discovering the supposed 
extent of his mishap, had remembered the threat against the 
lawyer made but a little while before to Kitty, how did that 
threat spring into her mind on seeing the blood and recog- 
nizing the bundle ! Murder, beyond a doubt, and Dick Comp- 
ton the murderer! The two had met, accidentally, had quar- 
rolled, had clenched, and in that clench her lover had forgotten 
all except his jealousy and fear of the lawyer, and had killed 
him outright ! Oh, here was trouble, indeed, to which that 
of a few moments previous had been but the merest shadow ! 
Dick would be arrested, tried, imprisoned, perhaps hung; 
and she would be obliged to give the fatal evidence that must 
seal his doom ! Terrible indeed — most terrible ! — the thought 
culminating in such mental suffering that the poor girl scarcely 
knew whether she was treading upon earth or air, as she took 
one more look upon the motionless form, the blood, and the 
accusing bundle that lay beside — then turned her back with a 
shudder upon all, crossed the road and hastened over the 
fields beyond, by a bye-path that would lead her to the home 
of the murdered man — her errand now, and her reason for 
haste, how different from w^hat it had been when walking 
towards the same destination but a few moments before ! 



T n K C O W A T^ D . 81 



CHAPTER IV. 

Ttte Residence of the Brands — Robert Rrand and Dr. 
riiiLip I'oMEROY — Radical and Cori'ERirEAD — A pas- 

SA(iE-AT-ARMS THAT ENDKD IN A QuARREL — ELSPETfl 
(iRAEME THE HOUSEKEEPER 'PriE SllADOW OF SlIAME 

Father and iJAUGHTt^R — The Fallino of a Parent's 
Curse. 

Half a mile northward from the Market street road whieh 
lias already been before so many times alluded to — on the 
north side of that road and at the distanee of a mile westward 
from the Hayley residence, was located that before mentioned 
as the abode of the Brands. It was a fine old house, built 
fifty or sixty years before, but within a few years repaired and 
rebuilt with a lavish disregard of cost, a railed promenade 
having been added at the apex of the steep roof, the whole 
two stories of height re-enclosed, the windows and doors com- 
paratively modernized, the piazzas remodelled and widened, 
and all done that the carpenter's art could well be expected 
to achieve, to add to the comfort and durability of the man- 
sion without destroying the appearance of respectable age 
which it had already put on. The house stood facing south- 
ward upon nearly level ground, the lawn in front of good 
depth and thickly dotted with forest and other shade trees 
that had evidently known all the years of the building ; while 
from the eastern side a narrow lane ran down to the road and 
afforded ingress and egress to carriages passing back towards 
tlie handsomely-grouped range of outbuildings in the rear. 
Adjoining this lane and behind the house was a large garden, 
with grape trellises and many of the appliances of liixurv in 
horticulture. 

At the eastern end of the piazza abroad single door opened 
into the somewhat antiquated hall ; and from that hall a door 
opened into a parlor fitted up with every appliance of conve- 
5 



82 THE COWARD. 

Tiience that could be needed in sucli a eonntry residence. 
Behind that parlor another door opened into a smaller apart- 
ment correspondingly fitted but with more of those beloncrings 
calculated to show its constant occupancy ; and from that rear 
room still another door opening to the lel't disclosed a bed- 
room of comfortable appearance and tasteful arrangement. 
On the other side of the hall the dining and domestic apart- 
ments stretched away, while the spacious upper story sup- 
plied rooms to other members of the family. 

It was very evident, at a glance, that wealth presided over 
the modernized old house, and that good taste was not for- 
gotten ; and yet an impression could not well be avoided that 
there must be something of severity, and repugnance to orna- 
ment, conjoined with the wealth. Poverty, or even struggling 
pride, would not have afforded so much of the best : warm 
taste and lavish liberality would have supplied something 
more of the costly and the luxurious. 

In the second of the ;;poms mentioned — that immediately 
in the rear of the parlor, two persons were in conversation ' 
at about noon of the same day of the occurrences previously 
recorded. The one, sitting in an easy-chair with his right 
leg raised and resting upon another chair crowned with a 
pillow, — was apparently sixty-five to seventy years of age ; 
tall, if his proportions could properly be judged as he sat, 
with a figure that must have been robust in its time ; the hail 
so nearly white as to preclude any idea of the color which it 
might have worn in earlier days ; the face well cut and even 
handsome for its age, though with a shade of severity in the 
firm nose and shaven lips, which under some circumstanceit 
might grow threatening ; but any accurate judgment of his 
character rendered difficult, by the look of pain stamped upon 
his face by evident bodily suffering. Resting against a smaU 
table partially covered with bandages and embrocations, waa 
a stout cane, indicating both that the invalid was in the habit 
of using a support of that character, and that he could not, 
«ven now, be entirely confined to bis chair. Such was Robert 



THE COWARD. 83 

Brand, ovnor of tlie mansion into which we have been intro- 
duced, and father of two children a|)parently as little alike in 
nature as in sex — Carlton and Ei.sie Brand. 

The second figure was quite as well deserving: of notice as 
the old man in his easy-chair. Doctor riiilij) Ponieroy, who 
wa.s at that moment pacing up and down the room without 
any a})parent cause for that violent exercise in warm weather, 
was a man in whom the acute physiognomist might have 
found somethihg illustrated by that seemingly listless motion 
— something possessed in common by restless men, in the 
superior animal kingdom, and those bears and hyenas which 
seem to traverse a great many unnecessary miles in travelling 
up and down the bars of their cages, in the inferior. And 
yet the doctor could not have been called, \vitb any propriety, 
an "animal-looking man" — it was the motion w^hieh supplied 
the comparison. He was apparently forty-five to fifty, tall and 
slight figured, with face clean shaven except a heavy dark 
moustache, features a little aquiline and decidedly sharp lips 
that suggested an occasional sneer and a word cutting like a 
scimetar, eyes of keen scintillant dark brown or black, and 
rather long dark straight hair through which the threads of 
silver began to show more as an ornament than a disadvan- 
tage. A very fine looking man — a man of undoubted power 
and will — a man who had evidently enjoyed the most favor- 
able associations; and yet how nearly a man to be either 
braved or trusted without reserve, it might have needed Lava- 
ter's self to decide on a brief acquaintance. That same 
Lavater, if acquainted with the peculiarities of road turn-outs, 
would have decided one point, at least, from the vehicre that 
stood in the lane, near the door — no clumsy and cumbersome 
gig, weighing an indefinite number of tons and set down as 
the proper conveyance for doctors from the day when the first 
one grew too lazy to walk, — but a light, sporting-looking 
buggy, seated for one, and suggesting fast driving quite as 
much as the high-blooded, thorough-bred bay that champed 



84 T II E C O W A i; D . 

his bit before it antl stamped impatiently forthe coming of liia 
master. 

From the medieal cliaraeter of the visitor and the disabled 
appearanee of the man in the easy-ehair, it might have bet-n 
ooiicluded that the call was a professional one ; and such was 
indeed the fact. An injury to the right limb of KoluTt 
Brand, received many years before, had a habit of asserting 
itself at uncertain periods, crippling him materially all the 
while, and at those particular times throwing him into all 
those agonies indifferently known as the pangs of neuralgia 
end inflammatory rheumatism. At such periods, the tradi- 
•tional character of the "gouty old Admiral" of the English 
stage, always limping and thumping a heavy cane, and nearly 
always venting words more forcible than polite, was very 
nearly illustrated in the old gentleman, his desire for active 
motion^'beinig generally in an inverse ratio to the ix)\ver of 
luovemec-t. <■ Dr. Pomeroy, one of .the most skilful of the 
physicians of the section, and a man in very extensive 
practice, was always his medical adviser at such times, and 
re-directed ^he application of those warm flannels and neu- 
tralizing embrocations which constituted all that even science 
could do for the alleviation of his sufferings, and about which 
old Elspeth the housekeeper knew a good deal more, all the 
while, than any physician could possibly do. For the three 
days previous, Robert Brand had been suffering to a most 
painful degree, and this was the third of the daily visits of 
the doctor. 

But w^hatever might have been the professional character 
of the visit, it had, before the moment when our attention is 
called to the two interlocutors, lost any feature which could 
have marked it as such. Robert Brand was a patriot, almost 
equally warm-hearted and hot-headed in the type of his 
attachment to his country ; while Dr. Pomero}^ was one 
of those quasi-loyalists, popularly called " Copperheads,'^ 
who have the love of country quite as often on their lips as 
the most unshrinking war- advocate can do, but who prefer to 



T H E C O W A R D . 85 

i^how that love by objecting to every effort made for the 
preservation of nationality, by denouncing, in every nine 
words out of ten, something done by the loyal government, 
while only the poor tenth is kept for a wail over the unfortu- 
nate character of the "civil war," — and by undervaluing 
every success won by the Union arms, while every momentary 
advantage gained by the rebels is correspondingly magnified. 
He seemed to take particular delight, always, in tormenting 
the old gentleman just to the verge of a positive rupture 
without quite causing one ; and just now, in the advance of 
the rebel forces into Pennsylvania, he found a golden oppor- 
tunity. 

" Bah I" he said, in response to a strongly patriotic expres- 
sion of his patron, which had led him to bring down one of 
his hands upon the disabled leg with a force causing a new 
tingle in that limb and a new expression of agony upon I '-? 
face — " bah ! All you hot-headed people, young and old, u-i 
just such language, all the while. It amounts to nothing, 
except that perhaps it eases your minds. Saying that ' the 
Union must and shall be preserved,' and prophesying all 
kinds of good things for the nation, amount to but very little 
while a.set of incapables sit filling their pockets at Washing- 
ton (more than half of them traitors, in my opinion), while 
the army is worse mismanaged than it could be if a set of 
school-boys led it, and while the enemies you affect to de- 
spise are really winning every thing and overrunning the 
whole country." 

" Out upon you, Dr. Pomeroy !" cried the old man, angrily, 
" You dare to call yourself a patriot, and talk in that manner ! 
There are plenty of fools at Washington, but I would rather 
see fools there than traitors I If you are not a perfect block- 
head, you know that the rebels' have lost twice as much as 
they have gained, within the past year, and that if the fight 
goes on in the same manner for one year more, the miserable 
mongrel concern will die of its own weakness I But you do 
not want it to die — that is just what ails you! — you would 



86 T HE CO W A K I). 

rather see Jeff Davis in the Capitol than any loyal man 
who would not give all the offices to your miserable broken- 
down party !" 

"And you would rather see the whole country lying in 
ruins, with heaps of dead everywhere and the few who re- 
main starving to death in the midst of them, than that the 
country should be in any other hands than those of your 
friends who do nothing else than talk about the nigger, legis- 
late for the nigger, and fight for the nigger !" answered the 
doctor, still continuing his walk, and his face showing decided 
temper. 

"It is false, and you know it, Philip Pomroy !" said the 
invalid, with a motion of his hand towards the big cane, which 
indicated that he would have liked to use it by breaking it 
over the doctor's head. 

" It is true, and you know it, Robert Brand I" replied the 
doctor, whose temper seemed to return to its equanimity the 
moment he had succeeded in throwing his patient into a 
sufficient rage. " But you need not take so much pains to 
conceal your opinions, old gentleman ! / don't ! If the 
country is to lie under the control of men who only legislate 
and fisrht for the nigger, who trample upon the Constitution 
and fill Fort McHenry and Fort Lafayette and Fort Warren 
with belter men than themselves, who do not happen to 
think and act precisely as they do, — why, the sooner that 
Jeff Davis, or any one else, gets possession, the better for all 
concerned." 

"Doctor Pomeroy, you ought to be taken and hung, with 
the other traitors, and I shouldn't much mind having a pull 
at the rope I" broke out the old man, now almost entirely 
beside himself with indignation. 

" Oh, I know that I" answered the doctor, whose temper 
was still visibly improving as that of his patient grew worse. 
"Any of your abolition pack would have hel})ed to hang every 
democrat, long ago, if they had only dared! The only 
trouble is that they did not do it while they had the oppor- 



T H E C O W A R D . 87 

tunity. Now it is too late. You daren't open the doors of 
your State-prisons any more, unless it is to let somebody 
out ! And before many days some of you will sing a different 
tune — take my word for it. Some of you radicals, even here 
at Philadelphia, will try to make the Confederate leaders be- 
lieve that you have been the truest friends of the South, all 
the while." 

" What do you mean, you scoundrel ?" asked the old gen- 
tleman, whose harsh words to a man somewhat younger 
than himself appeared to be fully understood and not taken 
in quite the sense which they might have borne to other ears. 

" 1 mean that Lee will take Harrisburgh, and that next he 
will take Philadelphia ; then — " 

" Take Purgatory ! He can never take Harrisburgh, let 
alone Philadelphia !" 

" He can and will take it I What is to hinder him ?" 

" Just w^hat has hindered his taking Washington, any time 
the last two years — better troops than his own, and more of 
them." 

" Sheep before butchers'-dogs ! The men of the North 
have never gone into the war at all, and they never will go. 
That scum which you call an army cannot fight the earnest 
and determined men of the South, and you ought to know it. 
Within a week Lee will be in Philadelphia, and then we will 
see about the change of tune I" 

" Within a week, if he dares advance, he will be eaten up 
by the State militia alone, even if the Army of the Potomac 
does not save them the trouble !" said the old man. 

*' The Army of the Potomac has been good for nothing ever 
since Hooker blundered its last opportunity away at Chan- 
cellorsville !" retorted the physician. " The army has no 
confidence in him, and the country has no confidence either 
in him or the army. The State militia will vigorously stay 
at home, or they will behave so badly after they go out, that 
they had much better kept where nobody saw ihem ! Oh. 
by the way ! — " and the face of the doctor lit up with a new 



88 T H p: C O W A R L) . 

expression. A sneev settled itself upon his well-formed lips, 
and there came into his scintillant eyes a gleam of deadly 
dislike which boded no good to the subject of which he wa.s 
about to speak. He might h^e been only half in earnest, 
before, while driving the old man wild with his Copperhead 
banter ; but he was certainly interested in what he was about 
to say, now ! 

" Well ?" asked the patient, querulously, as he saw that 
some new topic was to interlard that which had already been 
so unpleasant. 

"That State militia you were talking about," said the doc- 
tor. " Your son was expected to take up his old commission 
and go out with one of the regiments, was he not ?" 

" He was not only expected to do so, but he has done so !" 
answered the father, with love and pride in his eyes. "Not 
all the people in the country are either Copperheads or 
cowards, doctor ; and I am proud to tell you that if I am too 
old and too much crippled to take part in the battles of my 
country, or even to get up and break my cane over your head 
when you insult the very name of patriotism, — I have a son 
who when his opportunity comes can do the one and will do 
the other !" 

" When his ' opportunity' comes !" echoed the doctor, 
sneeringly. 

" Yes, his opportunity 1" re-echoed the father, who felt that 
there was something invidious in the tone, though he could 
not read that face which might have given him a better clue 
to the character of the man with whom he was dealing. " My 
son has been too much hampered with business before, to 
accept any of the chances which have been offered him ; 
but now that his native State is invaded, business is thrown 
by and you will find him, sir, keeping up the honor of the 
name." 

" Humph !" said the doctor, pausing in his walk and for 
some unexplainable reason going to the window and looking 



•^ THE CO W A K D . 89 

out ; so tliat he stood with his back to the old gentleman. 
*' Where is your son, now ?" 

" Where ? Gone down to the rendezvous to take his com- 
mission, of course, as I understand that the troops will leave 
to-night." 

" Humph I" once more said the doctor, in the same in- 
solent tone and retaining his position at the window. 
"And yet I happen to know that your son has discovered 
some new ' businesi>,^ (with a terribly significant emphasis on 
the last word) and that he is not going one step with the 
regiment." 

" Dr. Pomeroy, I know better !" was the reply. 

" Mr. Brand, I know what I am talking about, a good deal 
better than you imagine !" sneered the doctor, who having 
by that time managed to get his face into that shape which 
he had no objection to being seen by his patient, now turned 
about and faced him, with his hands under the tails of his 
coat. ' 

"What do you know?" was the inquiry, a little trouble 
blending with the anxiety in the face. 

" Well, I will tell you, as perhaps you may as well learn the 
fact from me as from any one else," answered the doctor, his 
tones now very smooth, and his manner almost deferential, as 
should be the demeanor of any man towards his victim at the 
moment of stabbing him under the fifth rib, " I had occasion 
to call at the armory of the Reserves, an hour or two ago, to 
set the broken arm of one of the fellows who had taken too 
much Monongahela in anticipation of his start, and falhMi 
down-stairs. I learned there and then, with some surprise 
and not a little grief (the father ought to have caught the e.x- 
l)res6ion of his face at that moment, and thereby measured 
the " grief" indicated !) that Mr. Carlton Brand had been 
down at the armory, alleged his businef^s to be such that he 
could not possibly leave the city, and declined any further 
connection whatever with the regiment." 

" It is impossible !" said the father. 



90 THE COWARD. 

" It is true, however, like a good many impossible things !" 
again sneered the physician. "And I have been thinking 
whether some others of members of the State militia would not 
be found like your amiable son — too busy to pay any attention 
lo the defence of the State !" 

" Dr. Pomeroy I" said the father, after one moment of 
almost stupefied silence. " Dr. Pomeroy, you have not 
been friends with my son for a long time, and I know it, 
though I do not know what could have caused any disagree- 
ment. But I do not suppose you would deliberately tell a 
falsehood about him that could be detected in half an hour; 
and T want to know what there is hidden in your words, more 
than you have chosen to convey." 

"You had better ask your son when he comes I" was the 
reply. 

" No — I ask you, now, and I think you had better answer 
me !" said the old man. 

" Well, then," answered the doctor, " if you insist upon it, my 
love for the young man is not so warm as to give me a great 
deal of pain in the telling, and you may know all you wish. 
Your son has been doubted a little, ever since the breaking 
out of the war, from his repeated refusals of positions in the 
army ; and — " 

" The man who says that my son is disloyal, lies !" cried 
the old man, interrupting him. " You, or any other man !" 

" It was not on the ground of his disloyally that be was 
suspected !" sneered the doctor. 

"And what ground then ?" asked the father, his face and his 
whole manner showing something terrible within that could 
be only partially suppressed. 

" The ground of his cowardice, since you will have it I" 
spoke the doctor, in such a tone of fiendish exultation as 
Mephistopheles may have used to Faust, at the moment of 
assuring him that the last hope of happiness on earth or pardon 
from heaven had been swept away in the slaughter of Valen- 
tine and the moral-murder of Marguerite. " There is not an 



THE COWAKD. 91 

officer in the Reserves, who heard him refuse to join the regi- 
ment this morning, but believes him — yes, known him, to be 
an iirrant poltroon." 

" Doctor Philip Pomeroy, you are a liar as well as a traitor 
and a scoundrel ! If I had two legs, and still was, as I am, 
old enough to be your father, you would not leave this house 
without broken bones 1 Get out of it, send me your bill to- 
morrow, or even to-day, and never let me see you set foot in 
it again while I live !" 

The face of the old man was fearful, at that juncture. In 
spite of the pain of his disabled limb, he had grasped his cane 
and struggled to a standing position, before concluding his 
violent words ; and as he concluded, passion overcame all 
prudence, and the heavy cane went by the doctor's head, 
crashing through the window and taking its way out into the 
garden, at the same moment when his limb gave w^ay and he 
sunk back into his chair with a groan that was almost a shriek, 
clutching at the bell-rope that hung near him and nearly tear- 
ing it from its fastenings. 

Dr. Pomeroy said not another word, whatever he might 
have felt. He had dodged the flying cane, by not more than 
an inch, and such chances are not likely to improve the tem- 
per of even the most amiable. For one instant there was 
something in his face that might have threatened personal 
revenge of the violence as well as the unpardonable words, in 
spite of the difference of age : then the sneer crept over his 
face again, he stepped out through the parlor into the hall, 
took his hat, and the next moment was bowling down the 
lane into the road, behind his fast-trotting bay. It seemed 
likely that his last professional visit to the Brands had been 
paid, even if it had not yet been paid for I 

The terrible appeal of the master of the house to the bell- 
rope at his hand was answered the moment after by the 
appearance of a woman of so remarkable an aspect as to be 
worthy of quite as much attention as either of the personages 
who have before been called, in the same room, to the 



92 T H E C O W A R I). 

reader's attention. Tier dress was that of a housekeeper or 
upper servant, thonirh the hcijrht of her carriage and the 
erectness of her figure might liave stamped her as an empress. 
And in truth that figure did not need any such extraordinary 
carriage to develop it, for, as compared with the ordinary 
stature of woman, it was little else than gigantic. The man 
who built a door for Elspeth Graeme, less than six feet 
in the clear, subjected her to imminent danger of bringing 
up with a " bump" every time she entered it; and her broad, 
square, bony figure showed that all the power of her frame 
had not been frittered away in length. Her hands were 
large and masculine, though by no means ill-shaped, and her 
foot had not only the tread supposed to belong to that of the 
coarser sex, but very nearly its size. In face she was broad 
yet still longer of feature, with hair that had been light brown 
before the gray sifted itself so thickly among it as to render 
the color doubtful, — with eyes of bluish gray, a strong and 
somewhat coarse mouth with no contemptible approach to a 
moustache of light hairs bristling at the corners, — and with 
complexion wrinkled and browned by the exposures of at 
least sixty years, until very nearly the last trace of what had 
once been youth and womanhood was worn away and forgot- 
ten. Yet there was something very good and very kindly 
amid the rugged strength of the face ; and while little children 
might at the first glance have feared the old woman and run 
away from her as a "witch," they would at the second cer- 
tainly have crept back to her knees and depended upon a 
protection which they w^ere certain to receive. 

It is only necessary to say, in addition, that she was Scot- 
tish by birth as well as by blood and name — that she had 
come to this country nearly forty years before, when Robert 
Brand was a young man, and attached herself to the fortunes 
of the family because they were Scottish by blood and she 
was the very incarnation of faithful feudality — that his daugh- 
ter h:id been named Elspeth (since softened to Elsie) at her 
earnest desire, because she said the name was " the bonniest 



THE COWARD. 93 

ava" and she Imd hcrsc'lf bccni nnnuHl after a noljle lady wlio 
bore it, in her own hind, and who liad dotio mueh to give her 
that ni)riglit earringe by standing as her god-mother— and 
Ihat for many a long year, now, she had been the working 
head of Iho Brand household, scarcely more so since the death 
of its weak, hysterical mistress, a dozen years before, than 
>vhile she was alive and pretending to a management which 
she never understood. 

If any one person beneath that roof, more legitimately than 
another, belonged to the family and felt herself so belonging, 
that person was Elspeth Graeme ; and if something of the 
romantic, which the stern sense of the father would have been 
slow to approve, had grown up in both his children, it was to 
the partial love of Elspeth and her stories of Scottish romance, 
poetry, history, song and superstition, carrying them away 
from prosaic America to the wnmpling burns and haunted f 
o-lens of the land from which their blood had been derived, — • 
that such a feeling, fortunate or unfortunate as the future 
might prove, was principally to be credited. 

*' Did you ring, sir ? Ech, Lord, the men's deein' !" were 
the two very different exclamations made by Elspeth as she 
entered the room, after the departure of the doctor, and 
caught sight of the situation in which the master seemed to 
be lying. 

"No, Elspeth, I am not 'deein' as you call it," he growled 
out, when the pain of his exertion had again somewhat sub- 
sidud and he could find breath for words. " But I wish I 
was ! Is that cursed doctor gone ?" 

"He was gettin' to his carriage the minute, and he's awa 
by this," answered the housekeeper. " But what ava has he 
been doin' to ye ? Murderin' ye maybe ! — they're a dolefu' 
uncanny set, the doctors !" 

" If you ever see that man here again, and you don't have 
him shot or set the dog on him, out of the house you go, neck 
and crop, the whole pack of you— do you hear !" was the 
i-eply to Elspeth's comment on the medical profession. 



94 THE COWARD. 

"Just as ye sav, master," said Elspoth. " I'll set Carlo at 
him myself, if ye say so ; and wo but tne brute w'ill just 
worry bim, for he does na like him and is unco fond of snap- 
pin' aboot his heels !" 

".Where is Elsie ?" was the next question. 

*' Gone over to Mistress Hayley's the mornin'. Can I do 
any thing for your leg, sir? — for the wench in the kitchen's 
clean daft, and I'll be wanted there, maybe." 

" Xo — you can do nothing. My leg is better. l>ut send 
Elsie to me the moment she comes in." 

" Hark !" said the housekeeper, as a h'ght foot sounded 
on the piazza and came in through the hall. " There's the 
lassie hersel — I ken her step among a thousand. I'll just 
send her in to you the moment she has thrawn afl'her bonnet." 
And the old woman departed on her errand. 

There must have been an acuteness beyond nature, in the 
ears of old Elspeth, if she indeed knew the tread of the young 
girl ; for her step, as she entered the room, was so slow, lag- 
gard and lifeless, so unlike the usual springing rapidity of her 
girlish nature, that even her lover might have been pardoned 
for failing to recognize it. It was as if some crushing weight 
fettered her limbs and bowed down her brow. And a 
crushing weight indeed rested upon her — the first unendur- 
able grief of her young life — the knowledge of her only 
brother's shame. Robert Brand marked the slow step and 
saw the downcast head ; and little as he could possibly know 
of the connection of that demeanor with the subject of his 
previous thought, it was not of that cheerful and reassuring 
character calculated to restore the lost equanimity of a man in- 
sulted in the tenderest point of his honor and chafed beyond 
human endurance. His first words were rough and peremp- 
tory : 

" Why do you move in that manner, girl, when you come 
to see me ? I do not like it — do not let me see any more 
of it !" 

*'I was coming, father !" was poor Elsie's only answer. 



T H E C O W A R D . 95 

" So I see — at the rate of ten feet an liour ! What is the 
matter with you '/" 

" Nothing." 

"Nothing?? — do not tell nic that, j,nrl ! I know better, or 
vou would never carry that gloomy face and move as if you 
wt'i-e going to your grandmother's funeral !" 

" Indeed there is nothing the matter with me, father ; but 
iiuTesoon will be, if you s.cold me 1" and the young girl, 
making a terrible effort to be cheerful, came up to his side, 
put her arm around his neck and pressed her lips to his fore- 
head with a movement so pure and fond that it might have 
softened Nero at the moment of ordering his last wholesale 
murder. It partially disarmed the pained and querulous 
father. He put his arm around the daughter's waist, re- 
turned the pressure and seemed to be soothed for a moment 
by resting his head against the bosom that pressed close to 
him. But the demon that had been roused could only sleep 
thus temporarily. Directly he put her away, though not 
roughly, looked her full in the face, and asked : 

" Where is your brother ?" 

"You know he went down to town this morning, and he 
has not yet come home," was the reply, with an effort not by 
any means a successful one, to keep the voice from quavering. 
The practised ear of the father detected the difference between 
that intonation and the usual unembarrassed utterance of his 
daughter ; and he naturally connected it at once with the re- 
straint of her manner, and noticed an evasion in her answer 
that might otherwise have escaped him. 

'I know he has not come home," he said. "But that 
was not my question. You have been at Mrs. Hayley's 
where he spends quite as much of his time as here. Have 
you seen him ?" 

Elsie Brand would have given the proudest feature of her 
personal adornment, at that moment, to be able to lie I She 
saw that some undefined anxiety with reference to her 
brother must have moved her father's repeated questions, 



96 TnE COWARD. 

and naturany she feared tlie worst — that Carlton's mad 
words had indeed been overheard, and that even in that brief 
space of time some messenger of evil had travelled fast 
and betrayed the fatal secret. If so, the storm was al)out to 
burst on tlie devoted head of lier brother, not the less deadly 
because she nmst bear the first brunt of its violence. Yes — 
Elsie Brand would almost have given her right hand to be 
aide to lie at that moment. But her education bad been as 
true as was her nature, and she ujunaged to falter out, yet 
more suspiciously : 

''Yes, father!" 

" And you dared to trifle with rae, girl, when I asked you 
a plain question ?" and Robert Brand grasped his daughter 
by the arm so forcibh' that she nearly screamed with the 
violent pressure, and tears did indeed start to her eyes as 
she sobbed out — 

" I did not mean to trifle with you, father. I only 
thought — " 

" You thought that when I asked one question, I meant 
another, did 3'ou ?" and the face that looked upon her was 
set, hard and very stern. "You had better not try the ex- 
periment again, if you do not wish to suffer for it !" 

"Oh, father!" and the young girl, enough broken before, 
now wept outright. But he stopped her, very roughly. 

"No bawling ! not a whimper ! Now listen to me. You 
have seen your brother since morning — since he went down 
to the rendezvous." 

"Yes, father." 

" You saw him at Mrs. Hayley's." 

"Yes, father." 

"And he came there to bid Margaret good-bye, before he 
went away, and you are such a miserable whining school- 
girl that you are making all this fuss about his absence. Is 
that the fact ? Speak I" He still held her arm, tliough his 
grasp was less painful than it had been at first; and his eyes 
looked upon her with such a steady, anxious, almost fearful 



THE COWAPvD. 97 

pazo, that it would have driven away the second temptation 
to falsehood, even had such a temptation once obtained power. 
There was nothing for it, at that moment, but to speak the 
truth so far as compelled. 

" iS"o,"father. Carlton is not going away." The last three 
words were uttered so low, and so tangled up among the 
sobs that she had not been able entirely to check, that they 
might not have been distinguishable except to the preter- 
naturally acute ear of the suspicious father, 

" He is not going ? Why ?" The first words were harsh 
and loud — the last one was almost thunder, easily heard, if 
any one was listening^ over the whole house. Before it the 
young girl shook like an aspen and broke out into fresh sobs 
as she attempted to answer. 

" Because — because his business will not allow — " 

"Because he is a coward! Answer me that question, girl, 
or never speak to me again while 3"ou live !" Robert Brand 
had apparently forgotten all his pain and risen from his chair, 
still holding his daughter's arm, as he hurled out the interro- 
gation and the threat. Poor Elsie saw that he knew all, too 
surely ; further dissembling was useless ; and she dropped 
upon her knees, that iron grasp still upon her arm, lifted up 
both her hands, and piteously moaned — 

" Yes, that is the reason ! Oh, how did you hear it ? 
Kill me, father, if you will, but do not kill poor Carlton ! 
He cannot help it — indeed he cannot !" 

They were fearful words that immediately thereafter fell 
from the lips of Robert Brand — words that no provocation 
should ever tempt a father to utter, but words which have 
been plentifully showered on the heads of the shamed or the 
disobedient, by the thoughtless or the unmerciful, who arro- 
gated to themselves God's power of judgment and retribu- 
tion, througkall the long ages. 

" Get up, girl, if you do not wish me to forget that you are 
not yourself the miserable hound for whom you are plead- 
ing' !" 



98 THECOWARD. 

" Oh, father !" broke again from tlie lips of the frightened 
girl, who did not move from hor kneeling position. 

" Get up, I say, or I will strike you with this cane as I 
would a dog !" 

Elsie Brand staggered to her feet, she knew not how, but 
stood bowed before the stern judge in an attitude of pleading 
quite as humble and pitiful as that of prayer. The next 
words that fell upon her ears were not addressed to her, but 
seemed to be spoken for others' hearing than those who 
dwell in tenements of clay, while the voice that uttered them 
trembled in mingled grief and indignation, and the disabled 
frame shook as if it had been racked with palsy. 

"jl/// son a coward I a miserable poltroon to be pointed at, 
spat upon, and whipped ! My blood made a shame in the 
land, by the one whom I trusted to honor it ! God's blackest 
and deepest curse — " 

" Oh, father ! father !" broke in the young girl in a very 
wail of agony so pitiful that it must have moved any heart 
not calloused for the moment against all natural feeling, but 
that availed nothing to stop the impending curse or even to 
lower the voice that uttered it. 

" — God's deepest and blackest curse 'light upon the coward I 
shame, sorrow, and quick death ! He shall have neither 
house, home nor family from this moment ! I disown this 
bastard of my blood ! I devote him to ruin and to per- 
dition !" 

Few -men have ever uttered, over the most criminal and 
degraded of the offspring of their own loins, so dire an im- 
precation ; and no father, who has ever uttered one approach- 
ing it in horrible earnest, but is doomed here or hereafter to 
feel the bitterest weight of that curse resting upon his own 
head. Lear was clean distraught by wrongs beyond human 
endurance, before he called upon "all the stored veftgeances 
of heaven" to fall on the " ingrateful top" of iKronePIl, and 
hreatcned both his unnatural daughters with " such re- 
venges" that they should be the "terrors of the earth" ; and 



THECOWARD. 99 

only that incipient madness clears him from the sin and 
leaves liim human to demand our after pity. There can be 
no excuse for such paroxysms of remorseless anger — it is 
dillieult to supply even a palliation. And yet there was 
somethini? in the blood, in the past life and associations of 
Robert Brand, coming as near to offering excuse for shame 
and indignation driving to temporary madness, as could well 
have been offered in behalf of any man of his day, commit- 
ting a sin of such nature. And to circumstances embodying 
these it is now necessary to revert, even at the expense of a 
temporary pause in the directness of this narration. 



CHAPTER Y. 
The Btrth and Blood of the Brands-^Prtde that came 

DOWN FROM THE CrUSADES ROBERT BrAND AS SOLDIER 

AND Pension-Agent — The Pensioners of the Revolu- 
tion — How Elsie rayed, and how the Father's Curse 

SEEMED to be ANSWERED — Dr. JaMES HoLTON, AND THE 

LOSS OF A Corpus Delicti. 

It has already been indicated, in speaking of the ties which 
bound Elspeth Graeme to the Brand family, that they were 
Scots by descent as she was by both blood and birth. Robert 
Brand himself stood in the fourth remove from Gaelic nativ- 
ity, without the spirit of his race being extinct or even mod- 
ified. When Archibald Alexander, father of that William 
Alexander who claimed to be Earl of Stirling in the peerage 
of Scotland while he was gallantly fighting as a Major-Gen- 
eral in the patriot army of the Revolution, came to America 
in 1*140, he was accompanied by a man who claimed to hold 
quite as good blood as himself, though he served in little less 
than a menial capacity to the heir of the attainted house of 



100 THE COWARD. 

Stirlin.G:. This was Malcolm Brand, of Perthshire, a mem- 
ber of the Scottish and elder branch of the Brands of Hert- 
fordshire in England, who at a later day carried the two 
crossed swords which they had borne on their shields since 
the Crusades, to augment the threatening bulls, wolves and 
leopards of the Dacres, in the possession of that barony. It 
was in a victorious hand-to-hand fight with a gigantic Sara- 
cen ou the field of Askalon, that Gawin de Brande, laird of 
Westenro in Lothian, fighting close beside King Richard, 
won that proud quartering of arms ; and it is to be believed 
that no descendant of his blood, either in 1740 or in 1863, 
liad quite forgotten that exploit or the fact that the very 
name of the family was only another antique appellation for 
the sword. 

Malcolm Brand, the emigrant, was the father of a sou 
Robert, born in Xew Jersey, as Archibald Alexander was 
the sire of William, who so proudly outdid the exploits of 
his elder blood, fighting under the leadership of Washington. 
The two young men, resident nearly together among the 
Kew Jersey hills, entered the army at the same time, and 
while the one rose to the dignity of a Major-General, the 
other shared in his combats at Long Island, Germantow^n 
and Monmouth, always fighting gallantly, but never rising 
beyond the grade of a first-lieutenant, and dying at last a 
prisoner on one of the pest-ships of the Wallabout. His 
son William, named after Lord Stirling and born in 1768, 
had of course passed as a boy through the trying period of 
the great contest, known that identification with the patriot 
cause inevital>le from anxiety for a father engaged in it and 
grief over his lingering death by disease and privation for 
its sake ; and it could not be otherwise than that the ears of 
/ji.s- son, Robert (the man of 1863), should have been filled 
with relations calculated at once to keep 'SWfe the pride of 
bis blood and to identify him with the glory and honor of the 
land in which his lot had been cast. 

Theu had come another influence, not less potent — the 



THE COWAKl). 101 

second breaking-out of hostilities against England, in the War 
pf 1812. The blood of the Brands was not cooled — it sprung 
to arms ; and Robert Brand, then a young lawyer, taking the 
place of his father already invalided, assumed the sword of 
his armorial bearings and ibught with Scott at Chippewa and 
Lundy's Lane, receiving so terrible an injury in the leg, at 
the close of the latter battle, that he was to be a tortured 
cripple from that day forward, but glorying even in the dis- 
ablement and the suffering, because his injury had not been 
met in some trivial accident of peaceful life, but sustained 
where brave men dared their doom. 

And yet another influence, not less potent, was still to 
come. Years after, when Carlton Brand was a child in arms, 
his father, then a practising lawyer in his native State, be- 
came identified with that most romantic and most picturesque 
body of men, of whom the present age remembers but little, 
and of whom the age to come will know nothing except as 
the knowledge is handed down from father to son, or carried 
forward in such desultory records as these — The Penaioners 
of the Revolution. At that time, not less on account of his 
spotless reputation than the crippling wound received in the 
service, he was appointed Pension Agent for the section ia 
which he resided, and duly commissioned twice a year to re- 
ceive from the War Department and pay over to the old men 
the somewhat scant and very tardy pay with which the land 
of Washington at last smoothed the passage to the grave of 
those who had been his companions. 

It was Robert Brand's privilege, then, to meet those men 
in the familiar intercourse of business — to listen to their tales, 
so often slighted by those wiser or less reverent, of foughton 
field and toilsome march, of cheerless camp and suffering in 
tiie wilderness, when this giant nation was a wnlful child un- 
justly scourged by a tyrant mother — to find in each some 
reminder of his patriot grandfather, and some suggestion of 
what that grandfather would have been had the fortune of 
war spared him to go down into old age and senility. 



102 THE COWARD. 

Twice a year, as the pension day came round, one by one 
they gathered in the little room where the scanty pension 
was to be doled — each with the measured beat of his stick 
sounding upon the floor as he entered, regularly as when his 
foot had beaten time in'^the olden days, under the iron rain 
of Princeton, or on the suffering march to Valley Forge. One 
by one they gathered to what was their great semi-annual 
holiday, with the kindly greetings of garrulous and failing 
age — with the gentle complaint, so patiently uttered, over 
limbs that seemed to be bowing with the weight of time, and 
with the pardonable boast that it was not so when the speaker 
had been young, in such a winter on the Xorthern Lines, or 
with such an officer at Yorktown or Saratoga. When the 
winters — said they — were colder than they are now, when the 
men were hardier, and when the women (they had all long before 
gone to rest, in the family graveyard or the little plat beside 
the church,) were fairer far than their daughters ever grew I 

Harmless deception of age ! — pleasant coloring that dis- 
tance gives in time as well as in the material world, so that 
the forms we once loved may be even more beautiful in 
thought than they were in reality ; the grassy law^ns upon 
which we played in childhood, greener far in memory than 
they ever were beneath the sun of June ; and even those hours 
once filled with anxiety and vexation, so beguiled out of their 
uncomely features, that they have no power to harm us in 
after-thought, and almost seem to have been freighted with 
unalloyed happiness ! There may have been a thunder-cloud 
rising in the heavens, that afternoon when we went boating 
with Harry and Tom and Mary and Susan and Alice, all the 
way down from Lovers' Bend to the Isle of Kisses, with 
music, and laughter and loving words that were sweeter far 
than song ; and the thunder-cloud may have thickened and 
gathered, so that the young lovers were drenched afid very 
dismal-looking, long before their return at evening; but be 
sure that forty years after, when the day is remembered, only 
the sunshine, the smiling faces and the flashing water is seen, 



T JI E COWARD. 103 

and if the thunder-storm has a place in niemor}' at all, it comes 
back more as a pleasure than a disappointment. Mary may 
have had a cloud upon her brow,^that evening at the garden- 
gate, from the absence of a ribbon lightly promised, or the 
presence of a recollection how some one flirted with Julia on 
the evening before ; and there may even have been a tiff 
verging far towards a lover's quarrel, before the reconciliation 
and the parting under tJie moon ; but when the hair has 
grown gray, and Mary is with the millions sleeping in the 
bnnist of our common mother, only the moonlight, that dear 
last kiss, and the rapture of happy love are remembered, and 
that checkered hour is looked back upon as one of unmixed 
enjoyment. Time is the flatterer of memory, as well as the 
consoler of grief, and perhaps has no holier office. So it w^as 
well that the old men's mental eyes were dim when their 
physical vision was failing; and when we grow old as they, 
if the scythe of the destroj^er cut us not away long before, 
may the far-away past be gilded for us as it was for them, by 
the rosy hue of fading remembrance, until all the asperities, 
the hard realities, the sharp and salient edges and angles of 
life, are smoothed and worn away forever ! 

Sitting side by side, they talked — those bent and worn and 
gray old men — of scenes long matters of honored history, 
glorying (ah I honest and natural glory !) in having stood 
guard at the tent of Wayne, or shared the coarse fare of 
Sumter in the Southern woods, but most of all if happily the 
eye of Washington had chanced to beam upon them, and his 
lips (those lips that seldom broadly smiled) approved or 
thanked their honest service. Few men, even of those who 
fought beside him, seemed ever to have known a smile from 
the Father of his Country ; but for those few there always 
beamed a light of glorious memory to which the all-repaying 
word and the intoxicating smile of the Great Corsican would 
have been empty and valueless. 

It was easy, twenty or thirty years afterwards, to remem- 
ber the fire that blazed in the dim eyes of old Job Marstou, as 



1U4 THE CUWAKD. 

he told how "Washington conimended him for his good conduct 
on the afternoon of the dreadful day of Long Island, when 
Sullivan's legion broke and fled like frightened sheep, — and 
how the veteran straightened himself upon his staff as if the 
head which had once borne the praise of the Joshua of Ameri- 
can Liberty should scarcely bend even to time. Or the quiver- 
ing of the hand of Walter Thome, one of the men who bore, 
through every trial and danger, the pledge of faith of the 
Monmouth League — quivering yet with the anger which had 
brooded ft)r more than fifty years, — as he pictured so plainly 
the burning of his fathers house by the Refugees, the acres 
of broad land laid waste by them, the cattle driven towards 
the royal lines from his own homestead, the arming of his 
friends, the chase, the recapture, and the ghastly figure of the 
Refugee captain as they hung him on a spreading limb that 
spanned the road, a sacrifice not only for the home in ashes 
but to the manes of Captain Huddy, scarcely yet taken dowa 
from his oak-tree gallows on the heights of Xavesink. Or the 
quietly felicitous chuckle with which Stephen Holmes, who 
had been one of " Captain Huyler's men" in the operations 
of that patriot marine freebooter around the shores of the 
lower bay of Xew York, detailed the success of a night attack 
in boats pretending to carry live-stock and oysters for sale, by 
which one vessel of the British fleet lying in the bay was cap- 
tured, much welcome spoil fell into their hands for the use of 
needy families at home, and all the remaining vessels of tho 
squadron rode uncomfortablv in the bay for a long time after. 
Or the half playful and half indignant raising of the cane of 
Robert Grey, when told by his old companions, for the five- 
hundredth time beyond a doubt, that he was suspected of a 
tihare in ArnoUVs treason, for not stopping the disguised 
Andre as he passed his sentinel post below West Point, 
before he fell into the hands of the three very common 
and insignificant men made immortal by one single act- 
Williams, Paulding and Yan "Wert. There would have been 
no pretence in the motion, spite of his eighty years and 



T H b] U O W A K D. 105 

faltering limbs, had the speaker hazar.led more than a jest 
ai::ainst the laitht'uhiess of the old man's service iu the '* darlc 
dav." But easiest of all was it to remember the story of 
Thomas West, wounded, and erii)pled from that day forth, iu 
assisting to bear the w^ouuded Lafayette from the field of 
Brandy wine, and named a subaltern otiicer at the close of that 
memorable action. His \vas the seat of honor ; and his was 
something more, even, than that measure of respect demanded 
bv all and so cheerfully paid to white hairs and honorable 
scars. 

Seldom was there a voice to speak one word of disrespect 
or undervaluation in the old men's company; and though the 
privilege of garrulous and failing age was often taken, and 
though the story once full of life and interest grew sadly 
tedious when again and again repeated, — yet there was no 
pardon, and deserved to be none, for him who forgot that 
reverence due to the men who bore the last personal recol- 
lections of the seven-years war. Only once, within ihe ex- 
perience of Robert Brand as a Pension Agent, was such dis- 
respect shown ; and then the punishment was so signal that 
there were no fears of the impropriety being repeated. Mart 
Tunison, a wealthy young landowner, rudely jostled old Job 
Marston on one occasion, and when called to account for the 
offence, snapped his fingers at the veteran as a "cursed old 
humbug, always in the way and always telling stories of bat- 
tles he had never seen." "You are rich, they say, Mart 
Tunison," said the old man, while the younger one could not 
read the flash that still lived in his faded eye. " I nm rich, 
and what is that to you, grand-daddy V was the nnswor, 
with a slap of the hand on the jingling pocket. " Yes, you 
are rich, and most people do not know how you became so!" 
almost hissed the old man, little knowing how he was point- 
ing a moral for a future day by speaking of the "shoddy" oT 
that bygone time. "1 will tell all your friends, and you, 
how you got so stuffed up that you can snap your fingers in 
uu old man's face ! You are living on the proceeds of tho 



106 THE COWARD. 

money that your Tory G:randfathor, old Tom Tunij^on, made 
by stealing cattle, when he was one of the Refugee Cow-Boys, 
and driving them over the lines to sell to the British, before 
he ran away to Nova Scotia to save his neck !" ^lart 
Tunison, if he had ever before known the real origin of his 
wealth, which is doubtful, — would probably have given the 
best field of all his broad lands to prevent that revelation of 
the shame of his family, which afterwards followed him iike 
a thing of ill-omen, to the very grave ! 

There was at that time in the office of Robert Brand, a 
stripling youngster who promised very little good to the world 
and has probably as yet disappointed no one — who thought 
more of play than of work, of music than of mortgages, of 
Burns than Blackstone, and of a rosy-cheeked girl who came 
into the office on some little errand to the " 'Squire" than of 
the most proud and stately of his male clients. Among his 
vices, he had a fancy for jingling verse ; and one day when the 
semi-annual visit of the pensioners had just terminated and 
be had listened afresh to the same old tales of glory told over 
again in the same faltering accents that he had heard so 
many times before, his one virtue of reverence for the aged 
and the venerable rose into an idle rhyme, which ma}^ have 
3 fit place in this connection, and which he called 

THE PENSIONERS. 
They come but twice a year, 

When the pension-day rolls round, — 
Old men with hoary hair 

And their faces to the ground. 
One leans upon his crutch ; 

And one is upright still. 
As if he bore Time's clutch 

With an iron nerve and will. 

And feeble are the steps 

That so patiently they feel ; 
And they kiss with trembling lips 

The old Bible and the seal ; 



THE COWARD. lij] 

And they lay witli care away, 

In wallets old and worn, 
The scant and tardy pay 

Of a life of toil and scorn. 

They love a cheerful pipe 

And a warm place in the sun. 
From an age so old and ripe 

To call memories one by one ; — 
To tell of Arnold's crime, 

And of Washington's proud form 
That beamed, in battle time, 

A beacon o'er the storm. — 

To tell of Yorktown's day. 

When the closing light was gained, — 
When Coruwallis went away 

And the eagle was unchained ; 
To show us, o'er and o'er, 

The seamed and withered scars 
That many a hero bore. 

As his passport from the wars. 

'Tis pride, with these old men, 

To tell what they have seen, 
Of battle-fields, again 

With their harvest bi-ight and green: 
'Twill be pride, when we are old, 

To say that in our youth 
We heard the tales they told 

And looked on them in their truth. 

They are the last sad link 

Of a race of men with ours. 
Who stood on ruin's brink 

And built up fair freedom's towers. 
They are passing, as the foam 

From the ocean wave departs, 
But finding yet a home 

In heaven, and in our hearts. 



108 THE COW A 11 D . 

And when the last is gone, 

'i o their memory we will build 
A pyramid of stone 

Whose top the sun shall gild 
When the name of patiiot weal 

And of tyrants' hitter wrong 
Shall be told but in a tale 

And known but in a song. 

The time then prophesied lias come ; though the monument 
then promised has not been erected, and though it may never 
be, because a later and grander though scarce nobler struggle 
to preserve what v^^as then first created, almost dwarfs the 
memory of the first contest and demands all the resources of 
wealth and art for its commemoration. The Pensioners of 
the Revolution are all gone, long ago, on the line of march to 
that great meeting where the last pension, whether of good 
or evil, shall be told cut. 

Almost every year, beneath the eye of the Pension Agent, 
one more withered leaf would drop from the bough where it 
had feebly fluttered, and sad comments be made by the sur- 
vivors when they met, with: "Ah, well-a-day ! — poor is 

gone !" and " Well, we are very old, and we must all follow 
him — some day!" with nervous shakings of the head and 
tremblings of the palsied hand, that told to all but themselves 
how soon the end must come. Thinner and thinner grew the 
group, reduced to six — to four — to three — to two ! Oh, that 
sad, mournful, heart-breaking two ! — enough gone to mark 
the coming extinction ; enough still left to hold their melan- 
choly converse ! And then one day there came but one, who 
looked vacantly round on the empty space and seemed to 
remem1)er that others than himself must once have lieeu 
there, but to remember no more. The "Last Man" had not 
then been written, and Geoff nj Dale was yet to spring from 
the imagination or the memory of the dramatist and supply 
poor f/cs-.sv Enrol Blake with one of bis best opportunities for 
throat-choking pathos ; but in the last of the pensioners bis 



THE COWARD. 109 

history was sadly prefigured. One other lonely visit, and 
tlioii the survivor was gone. All the group had dropped 
away. Tiieir forms seemed to linger, long after the forms 
that cast them had mouldered into inipalpable dust. It was 
the most natural thing in life for Robert Brand, months and 
even years after, to turn when hearing the measured beat of 
an old man's cane upon the floor, and look to see if the 
comer was not one of the veterans of Yorktown or of Trenton, 
yet lingering far behind the time of his companions. But no 
— death had come to all, and as yet no resurrection. The 
last pittance had been paid them, and laid away for the last 
time by their careful fingers ; and they, too, had been laid 
away by the hoarding miser of human forms, in quiet graves 
in those humble country church-yards dotting the bosom of 
that land which they had helped to free and to cover with 
human glory ! 

Perhaps they died in good time — before the dark hour came 
back again after a glorious morning and a cloudless noon. 
Perhaps it is well that the last of the Revolutionary veterans 
had passed beyond acute pain and heart-felt shame, before 
the attempt at national suicide came to embitter their last 
moments with the belief that after all they might have 
labored and suffered in vain. But their memory does not die. 
Mecca and Jerusalem are blended in the sacredness of that 
pilgrimage which the reverent heart travels back through the 
years to pay them ; and if there is yet a leaven of self-sacri- 
ficing devotion in our national character sufficient to bear us 
on triumphantly to the great end, the yeast of true patriotism 
from which it is made was preserved through the long night 
of corruption and misrule, in the breasts of the Fathers of the 
Republic. 

Their children have long been old men now. Their very 
grandchildren begin to show gray hairs. Following close 
upon the steps of the Last Man of the Revolution — the last 
of the men who could say that they saw and took part in that 
throe which gave birth to a nation, — tread all those who can 



110 THE COWARD. 

even say that they ever saw them and took them by the 
hand. A few years, and the last of. these, too, will be quiet 
and voiceless. The chain of personal recollection is growing 
thin, — it may break to-morrow ; and " the rest is silence." 

Such was the blood of Robert Brand, and such had been 
the influences and surroundings of his earlier life — himself a 
soldier when in possession of health and vigor, and the com- 
panion, friend and guardian of the noblest of all American 
soldiery when he became disabled and inactive. He loved 
bis native land with an idolatry bordering on insanity; and 
during the long struggle between the interests of the sections, 
preceding the war, he had imbibed love of free institutions 
and hatred of slavery to a degree little less than fanatical. No 
regret had weighed so heavily upon him, when the note 
of conflict sounded in 18G1, as the fact that his aged and 
crippled frame must prevent his striking one blow in a cause 
so holy; and if he held one pride more dearly than another, 
it was to be found in the remembrance that he had a noble 
and gallant son, too busy and too much needed at home, thus 
far, to join the ranks of his country's defenders in the field, 
but ready when the day of positive need should come,*to 
maintain unsullied the honor of his race. What marvel, all 
these surroundings considered, that the knowledge of that 
son being an abject poltroon should nearly have unseated his 
reason, and that he should have uttered words which only the 
partial insanity of wounded pride and rankling shame could 
supply with any shadow of excuse ? 

At the close of the last chapter, and before this long ex- 
planatory episode intervened to break the progress of the 
narration, Elsie Brand, the agonized sister and daughter, was 
seen standing before her father, with hands clasped in agony 
and lips uttering agonized pleadings. But the very instant 
after, when the terrible severity of that parental curse had 
been fully rounded from the lips and that fatal evidence given 
that for the moment all natural affection had given way to im- 
pious rage and denunciation, — the young girl stood erect, her 



THE COWARD. Ill 

blue eyes still tearful but flashing ang'cr of which they eom- 
inouly seemed to be little capable, and her lips utterinj^ words 
as determined as those of the madman, even if they were less 
furious and vindictive : 

" You may strike me if you like, but I do not care for you, 
now — not one ^nap of my finger I You are not my father — • 
you are nobody's father, but a bad, wicked, unfeeling old man, 
gray headed enough to know better, and yet cursing your own 
flesh and blood as if you wished to go to perdition yourself 
and carry everybody else along with you I" 

The very audacity of this speech partially sobered the en- 
raged man, and he only ejaculated in a lower but still angry 
tone : 

" What !" 

"What I say and what I mean I" the young girl went on, 
oblivious or heedless of any parental authority at the moment. 
*' I do not love you — I hate and shudder at you ! I would 
rather be my poor brother, a coward and disgraced as he may 
be, than his miserable father cursing him like a brute I" 

" Do you dare " the father began to say, in a louder 

voice and with the thunder again threatening, but Elsie Brand 
was proving, just then, that the gift of heedless speech "ran 
in the family," and that for the moment she " had the floor" 
in the contest of denunciation. 

" Oh, you need not look at me in that manner !" she said, 
marking the expression of the old man's eyes and conscious 
that he might at any moment recover himself sufficiently to 
pour out upon her, for her unpardonable impudence, quite as 
l)itler a denunciation as he had lately vented against her dis- 
graced brother. " I am not afraid of your eyes, or of your 
tongue. Y''ou have turned Carlton out of doors, for a mere 
nothing, and I am going with him, I will never set foot in 
tbis house again, never, until " 

llow long was the period the indignant girl intended to 
set for her absence, must ever remain in doubt, with many 
other things of much more consequence ; for the sentence 



112 THECOTTARB. 

thus begun, was never eompletecl. In at the open front 
door, through the parlor and into the room of the invalid, at 
tiiat moment staggered Kitty Hood. Tiie phrase descriptive 
of her movement is used advisedly and with good reason ; for 
fright, exhaustion and the terrible heat of the June meridian 
had reduced the young school-mistress to a most pitiable con- 
dition. Her face was one red glow, her brow streamed with 
perspiration, and she was equally destitute of strength and 
out of breath. 

This strange and unannounced interruption naturally broke 
the unpleasant chain of conversation between father and 
daughter; and the eyes of both, during her moment of en- 
forced silence to recover breath, looked upon her with equal 
wonder and alarm. 

" Oh, Mr. Brand !" and here the breath gave out again 
and she sank exhausted into the chair which Elsie pushed up 
to her. 

"You are sick? Somebody has insulted or hurt you? 
What is the matter, Kitty ?" she asked. 

" Oh, no, no !" at last the school-mistress mustered breath to 
say, at short, jerky intervals. " Nothing ails me, except that 
I am out of breath ; but your son, Mr. Brand." 

^"Well, what of him?" asked the old man, his tone sharp 
and angry and his brow frowning, confident that the coming 
information must have some connection with the disgraceful 
report of the morning — that Kitty Hood had only run herself 
out of breath in her anxiety to tell his family unwelcome news 
that they already knew too well. 

" Oh, sir, Mr. Carlton — your poor brother, Elsie ! — is dead !" 

" Dead !" The word had two echoes — one, from the lips 
of Robert Brand, little else than a groan ; and the other 
from poor tortured Elsie, compounded between groan and 
shriek. 

** Oh, yes, how can I tell it ?" the young school-mistress 
went on, as fast as her broken breath would allow. " I found 
tiim lying dead, only a little while ago, by the gate, down at 



r II K CO \v A n ]). 1 1;; 

tho blind-rond, a.s I raine across from scliool ; ami I Iiin»' run 
all \Uo way liere to toll vou !'' 

" Mv })oor brotlu'r dead! oli, Carlton!" moaned Elsie 
IJrand ; then, but an instant after, and before the old man 
had fonnd time to speak ag-ain, the curse came up in connee- 
tion with tiie bereavement and she broke out, hysterically: 
" See what you have done, father ! You wished poor Carlton 
dead, and now you have your cruel wish ! Oh, my poor, 
poor brother !" 

" Silence, girl !" s])oke Robert ]5rand, sharply, with a not 
unnatural dislike to have the school-mistress made aware of 
what had so lately passed. Tiie old man was terribly 
nil'ected, but he managed to contral himself and to speak with 
some approach to calmness. 

" You are sure, Kitty, that yon saw my son lying dead ?" 

"Oh, yes, Mr. Brand, he was l\nng dead on the grass close 
by the gate." 

" Lying alone ?" The voice of the father trembled, in 
spite of himself, as he asked the question. 

" All alone, and he could only have been dead a few 
moments. He looked so." 

" Was there — " and the old lawyer tried to steady his 
voice as he had many a time before done when asking equall}^ 
solemn questions concerning the fate of other men's chil- 
dren — " did you see any thing to prove what killed him ? He 
went away from home on horseback — " 

" Yes, he was on horseback at Mrs. Hayley's only a little 
M-hile ago," Elsie mustered strength to interrupt. 

"Did you see his horse? — had he fallen from it — or — " 
and then the voice of the father, who but a few moments 
Ijefore had believed his love for his son crushed out forever, 
entirely broke down. Heaven only knew tiie agony of the 
question he was attempting to put; for the thought had 
taken possession of him that that son, overwhelmed by the 
knowledge that he would be pointed out and scoffed as a 
poltroon, had shown his second lack of courage by laying 
7 



11-i THE COWARD. 

violent hands on his own life and rushing unbidden into the 
presence of his Maker ! 

" No," answered Kitty Hood, setting her teeth hard as she 
realized that the time had come when she must prove her 
own honesty at the possible sacrifice of the life of the man 
who had been her lover. " No, I did not see his horse. He 
had not been killed by falling from it. I am sure. He had 
been murdered !" 

" Murdered !" Again the w^ord was a double echo from the 
very dissimilar voices of father and daughter ; the latter 
speaking in the terror of the thought, the former under the 
conviction that the dreadful truth was being revealed, and 
that, though the young girl did not suspect the fact, the 
crime would be found to have becui sp//-murder. 

" There was blood on his face and on the grass," poor Kitty 
went on, "and there was a bundle lying close beside him, 
that I had seen under the arm of — of — " 

"Eh, what? Under whose arm ?" asked the father, in a 
quick voice, as the relation took this new turn. 

" Richard Compton's !" choked out Kitty Hood. 

" Richard Compton's !" again echoed the old man. "Why 
he was your — " 

"We were engaged to be married," cried poor Kitty, at 
last overwrought and bursting into tears. " But I must tell 
the truth, even if it hangs him and breaks my heart. He was 
at the school-house only a little wiiile before ; he was angry 
with Mr. Carlton, and threatened him ; and I am afraid that 
he killed him." 

" Oh, this is dreadful !" said Elsie. 

"Dreadful indeed!" replied Robert Brand, whose own 
grief and horror were somewhat modified if not lessened by 
the thought in what a situation the honest young girl was 
placing herself and her lover. He reached back and pulled 
the bell-rope again, and again Elspeth Graeme made her ap- 
pearance, a little surprised to find three persons in the room 
where she had before left but two, the third coming unan- 



THE COWARD. 115 

nounced, and all three of the faces looking a? if their owners 
had been summoned to execution. 

" Tell Stephen to get up the large carriage, instantly, and 
have it round witliin five minutes," was tlir ovdw to tlie old 
woman, delivered in a quick and agitated v()i(M>. 

"Are ye gaeia' out, sir ?" was the iiKpiiry, in rc])ly. 

" Yes, but what is that to you, woman V 

"Xaethin', maybe, only you're clean daft ifyc'r thinkin' of it, 
Mr. Robert Brand." 

" I am not only thinking of it but going to do it; and the 
quicker you do my bidding, the better." 

"Gang yer ways, then, for an uncanny, unmanageable 
auld ne'er-do-weel !" was the grumbling comment of the 
Scotch woman, as she prepared to obey the injunction. She 
strode half way through the parlor, then returned and fired 
another shot into the invalid's room before she finally departed : 
" Hech, but yeVe been sendin' away the doctor w^i' the grin 
on his grunzie, and wha' will I ca' when ye come back a' 
ram-feezled and done over — answer me that, noo !" 

Less than five minutes sufficed to bring the carriage to the 
door, with its team of w^ell-groomed bays, and wMth much 
exertion (of which the stalwart Elspeth furnished no small 
proportion) the invalid was placed in it and so surrounded 
with cushions that he could ride with comparative ease. 
Elsie's tearful request to be allowed to accompany him in his 
quest of the body of her brother was sharply denied, with 
orders that both Kitty and herself should remain within 
the house until his return ; and the carriage drove rapidly 
away towards the point designated by the school-mistress, 
while the housekeeper was learning the fearful tidings from 
the lips of the two girls, and uttering broken laments and 
raining tears down lier coarse cheeks, over "her winsome 
bairn that had been sae sair wanchancie !" 

Scarcely more time than had been consumed in getting 
ready the vehicle elapsed before the carriage, driven at rapid 
speed, dashed up to the spot that had been indicated by 



116 THE C O W A n T). 

Kitty, the eyps of the father lookiji}! out in advnnce with on 
indescrihable horror, to catch the first olimjise of th«' body of 
a son whom lie half accursed himself, in his own heart, of 
murderinjii:. A doctor's top-sulky and a saddled horse, with 
two men, were seen standing near the irate as they approached ; 
but, strangely enough, they saw no dead body. One of these 
men, Robert Brand saw, was the young farmer, Richard 
Co'mpton, who had been accused by Kilty of committing that 
terrible crime; the other, standing by the side of his i>rofes- 
sional sulky, was a man of twenty-five, of medium height, 
very carefully dressed, fair faced, dark haired and dark eye<l, 
with features well rounded and an inexpressibly sweet smilo 
about the handsome mouth, which might have made an im- 
pression, under proper circumstances, upon other hearts than 
the susceptible one of Elsie Brand. Dr. James Ilolton, as 
has before been said, was a young physician, in very moder- 
ate practice, pleasing though very quiet in manners, irre- 
proachable in character (an unpopular point, as we are all 
well aware, in one of the heroes of any tale), and considered 
very much more eligible as a match by the young lady with 
^vhom his name has before been connected, than by the parent 
who was supposed to have the disposal of her hand. Dr. 
Holton, as many people believed, possessed skill enough and 
was sufficiently attentive and studious in his profession, to 
have run a closer race with the local professional autocrat, 
Dr. Pomeroy, than he had yet been able to do, but for tho 
skilfully managed sneers and quiet undervaluations by which 
the elder had kept him from winning public confidence. For 
more than two 3'ears he had been a frequent visitor at Robert 
Brand's, received with undisguised pleasure by Elsie and 
treated with great consideration by her brother, but meeting 
from the respected head of the family that peculiar treatment 
which can no more be construed into cordiality than insult, 
and which says, quite as plainl}" as words could speak, " You 
are a respectable young man enough, and may be received 
with politeness as a visitor ; but you do not amount to enough 



THE COWAKD. 117 

in the world, ever to become a member of my family." 
Quiirrel as he might with Dr. Philip Fomeroy, the old gen- 
tleman persisted in retaining him as his medical adviser; and 
it was her knowledge of the antagonism between the two 
and of the estimation in which each was held, that had in- 
duced the housekeeper to make her parting suggestion of the 
effect which must follow his order to set the dog on Pomeroy 
if he ever again attempted to approach the house, xs'o one, 
meanwhile, could better appreciate his own position than Di*. 
James Holton ; and while well aware that he loved Elsie 
Brand dearly, and firmly believing that she held towards him 
an unwavering affection, he was content to wait until his 
fortunes should so improve as to make him a more eligible 
match for her, or until in some other providential manner the 
obstacles to their union might be removed. 

Such was the gentleman who approached Robert Brand's 
carriage door with a bow, the moment the coachman had 
reined up his horses, and while that gentleman was looking 
around with fearful anxiety for an object which his eyes did 
not discover. 

** We are in trouble about your son," he said, before the 
other had spoken. " Something very extraordinary has oc- 
curred. Have you heard — " 

" That my son was killed and lying here ? Yes. Miss 
Kitty Hood, the schoolmistress, saw the body as she passed, 
and came to inform me." 

"Kitty Hood!" gasped Richard Compton, turning from 
the fence against which he had been leaning, and exhibiting 
a face nearly as white as that traditionally supposed to 
belong to a ghost. 

" Is it true ?" continued the father. *' If so, where is the 
body ?" 

' That is w^hat puzzles us," answered the physician. " Mr. 
Compton, here, had an altercation with your son — " 

" Excuse me, Doctor, for telling the story myself," said the 
farmer, interrupting. "Altercation is not the word— it was 



118 T H E C O W A K D, 

a fvjht. The devil was iu rne, I suppose, and I insulted 
Carlton Brand like a fool, and dared him to get off his horse 
to fight me. He got off, we exchanged a few blows, and 
directly he knocked me stiff. Perhaps I hit him in some 
unlucky place at the same time — I do not know. All that I 
do know is, that when I got my senses again, he lay stiff* as 
a poker there on the grass. I thought him dead or dying, 
and rode away on his horse for the doctor. AVhen we got 
here, just a moment ago, the body, or Mr. Carlton Brand 
with the life in him — the Lord knows which I — was gone." 

" My son got off his horse to fight you, you say ?" asked 
Robert Brand, in such a tone of interest as almost seemed to 
be exulting. 

" Yes, sir,'' answered the farmer. 

"And actually fought you ? — do not tell me a falsehood on 
this point, young man, for your life !'' 

" Fought me ? yes. he did more than that — whipped me ; 
and I do not let myself be whipped every day. If I ever 
found strength to rise again, I was just going to own up beat 
and ask his pardon." 

From that moment, an expression of pain which hnd been 
perceptible on Robert Brand's face from the instant of his 
conversation with Dr. Pomeroy, changed in its character and 
lightened up, so to speak, if it did not entirely depart. "Not 
so total and abject a poltroon as I feared !" was his thought. 
He had not alighted from the carriage, his crippled limb 
making that step difficult; but leaning over the side of it, he 
saw something on the grass reminding him of what Kitty had 
alleged. 

" There is blood upon the gras.s — who.'^e is it ? — my son's ?" 
he asked. 

" Mine, every drop of it — out of my nose. See, here is the 
rest of it," answered Dick Compton, drawing from his pocket 
the bloody handkerchief with which he had tried to improve 
the ap})earance of his countenance, while riding away after 
the doctor. 



THE COWARD. 119 

"What do you mako of all this, Doctor?" at length asked 
Uobert Brand. 

"It puzzles me, of rourse," said the medical man. " It is 
strange how Mr. Brand should have fallen for dead, if he was 
not. And yet it is not likely that any one would have taken 
up the body and carried it away, if he was. It would seem 
most probable that — " 

" That he is still alive ?" 

" That his apparent death was only the result of a fit of 
some character, and that, coming to af^er Mr. Compton left, 
and missing his horse, he has gone homeward, or in some 
other direction, on foot." 

" So I should think," answered the father. " Stephen, 
drive me home again. If you should hear any thing further. 
Doctor — " 

" I will do myself the honor of letting you know imme- 
diately," answered the young physician, with a bow and a 
quiet consciousness that, from stress of circumstances, the 
man whom he yet hoped to call father-in-law, had at last 
given him a tacit invitation to come to his house on his busi- 
ness. 

"And what shall I do with the horse ?" asked Compton. 

"As it seems that you have been the means of forcing the 
rider off its back, if you have not killed him, I think you can 
do no less than to ride him home to Mr. Brand's stables," 
said the doctor. 

" I am sorry that I brought you here for nothing, Doctor. 
You don't think that 1 need to go and give myself up, eh ?" 

" I am very glad that you brought me here for nothing, ns 
it appears, instead of for something," answered the doctor. 
" No, I do not think that you will have occasion to give any 
thing up, excejjt your bad temper and your propensity for 
fighting peaceable men along public roads. I wish you a 
very good day, Mr. Brand !" and stepping into his sulky, he 
drove away down the road to attend to some one of his limited 
number of patients ; while the carriage containing Ilobert 



120 TH E C U W A K 1). 

Brand whirled rapidly Lome again, followed at a little dis- 
tance by Dick Compton on Carlton Brand's horse, the fear 
of being proved a murderer somewhat lifted from his mind ; 
his military pants haunting him a little less than they had 
done during the former ride ; and the bundle which had at 
one time threatened to prove so damning an evidence against 
him, hugged up under his left arm. 



CHAPTER YL 

The Residexce of Dr. Pomeroy — Xathan Bladesden and 
Eleanor Hill — A kneeling Woman and a rigid (Quaker 
— The ruin that a Letter had wrought — A Parting 

THAT seemed ETERNAL — CaRLTON BrAND ALIVE ONCE MORE, 

AND A Glance at the fatal Letter. 

It sometimes happens, in this world which fast people con- 
sider dull and slow, that events crowd themselves very closely, 
both as to time and space. Within a very limited section, in 
a period covering scarcely more than an hour, we have seen 
a complication of occurrences, affecting many persons, sufB- 
cient to occupy many hours in the recital. And yet the store- 
houses of event and circums-tance have not yet been at all 
closely ransacked ; and that June-day has yet much to reveal, 
affecting some of the persons already introduced, and others 
who have not yet come into the field of observation. 

The spot at which the conflict between Carlton Brand and 
Richard Compton occurred, it will be remembered, was at 
the intersection of the highway leading down to the Schuyl- 
kill at Market Street, by a blind road which ran back south- 
wardly through the wood, — and that the request of the lawyer 
to Compton that he would open the gate admitting to that 



THE COWAKD. 121 

blind road, was made by the farmer the occasion of tliat quar- 
rel and fi<rht which we have seen terminate so singularly. 

Followinj]^ that blind road half a mile throuirh the wood, 
southward towards the Darby road, the visitor descended the 
little range of high land crowned by the wood, crossed a wide 
meadow with the frogs sunning themselves on the banks of 
the little brooks that ran beneath the bridges of the causeway, 
and the blackbirds singing in the low clumps of elder-bush 
that grew beside them, and found himself, on the other side, 
rising another slight hillock and at the back gate of the resi- 
dence of Dr. Philip Pomeroy. 

This was a house of modern construction, and of a com- 
pleteness betokening the wealth of the owner ; standing near 
the crown of the hillock, with the garden at the back sloping 
away towards the meadow (a bad slope, that towards the 
north, all the agriculturists in the section averred) ; hand- 
some shrubbery in the broad yard lying before the pillared 
front or south face of the house ; and a good many fine trees 
of inconsiderable age, with the pine everywhere predominant, 
promising abundant shade in coming years, both in front and 
at the rear. The continuation of the blind road which crossed 
the meadow, exteaded past the house on the west side, imme- 
diately beside the pickets of the yard enclosure, and running 
across to the Darby road afforded access to both the great 
highways, with only short distances of travel, and at the 
price of opening an occasional gate, which merely answered 
the purpose of stretching the cramped limbs of the rider. 
8onie persons, who knew the extensive practice of Dr. Pom- 
eroy, were disposed to wonder that he had not located him- 
self immediately on one of the great roads, with no necessity 
for traversing by-ways to reach them ; while others, who 
better knew the peculiarities of his will, believed that his mo- 
tive was a fancy for being comparatively isolated and a little 
baronial. Whether he really had any motive whatever in 
selecting the location, except the desire of pleasing himself, is 
a matter of very little consequence. 



122 THE CO W A R D . 

There was alight biiggj, drawn by two maguificent horses, 
standing at a post in the road, very near the house, at a little 
after noon on that day; and within the house certain develop- 
ments were at the same moment being made, so illustrative 
of the depth to which human depravity can descend when the 
rein is given to all base and unholy passions, that tl^e pea 
of the narrator, who is merely attempting a feeble recital of 
actual occurrences in the real life ofto-day, pauses at the task 
before it, the fact being so certain that the circumstances 
about to be recorded will be supposed to have sprung from 
the disorder of an unscrupulous imagination, instead of being 
the fruit of sad research and knowledge that would be avoided 
if such a thing was possible. 

The middle portion of the front of the doctor's residence, 
immediately over the somewhat narrow portico, was a sitting- 
room of small dimensions, tastily furnished ; while out of it 
opened a little bed-room, the white curtains and snowy bed- 
drapery of which, seen in glimpses through the door, sug- 
gested maiden purity and peace or that bridal rest which 
should be quite as pure and holy. The sitting-room had at 
that moment two occupants ; and the picture presented was 
such as no looker-on would have been likely to forget while 
he lived. 

Nearly in the centre of the room stood a gentleman some 
years past middle age, large framed and with large hands, tall 
and commanding in figure, unexceptionably dressed in gar- 
ments betraying the Quaker cut, and with that air of undeni- 
able respectability which no pretence can ever imitate, con- 
veyed by every motion of the man and every fold of his garments. 
He was dark-eyed and with features a little prominent; and 
years had made a perceptible mark on the smoothness of his 
face, at the same time that they had heavily gra^'ed his neat 
side-whiskers and dashed heavy masses of gray among the 
still-curling locks that clustered upon his head. A merchant 
or banker, evidently, from ilfcnner and general appearance- — 
and one to whom the idt^'^of dishonorable conduct and the 



THE COWARD, 126 

thouj]jht of a disgraced reputation would be alike unendurable, 
AVith a face in which sorrow seemed to be struggling with 
anger, this man stood holding a letter clenched in his right 
hand, and looking down upon something at his feet. That 
something was a woman. 

The woman was kneeling, with hands clasped in entreaty, 
hair shaken partially loose, face streaming with tears, and her 
whole system so shaken by the sobs convulsing it that the most 
dangerous form of hysterics might be very likely to follow that 
excitement. Even when kneeling it was to be observed that 
her figure was tall, finely moulded and upright — that her face 
was fair, pleasant, and notably handsome, though the features 
were too small, the dark eyes mournful, and the general im- 
pression created that of confiding helplessness very likely to 
degenerate into dangerous weakness — that her hands were 
long, taper and delicate, as beseemed her figure — that her 
brown hair w^as very full, rich, silken and glossy — and that 
she had probably numbered some five-and-twenty summers. 
Formed to be loved, protected and shielded from every harm, 
and certain to return for that love and protection the most un- 
reserved affection and the most unquestioning obedience ; and 
yet kneeling there with that upon her face which told a tale 
of the most cruel outrage quite as plainly as the quivering 
lips could speak it I 

Much has been said of the sadness of the spectacle when a 
strong man weeps, as compared to the same exhibition of 
feeling by a woman. It is equally sad when a woman is seen 
kneeling to any other power than that of her God ! It seems 
man's province, given alike by nature and the laws of chivalry, 
to bend his proud knee in other aspects than that of devotion ; 
and even when he is showing that prostration his eye may be 
glowing with the conscious pride of the future conqueror ; 
but what except the most abject shame or the most over- 
whelming sorrow, can be shown when the delicate limb of 
womanhood kisses' the green sod or the floor beneath her 
tread ? To save by pitiful entreaties a perilled honor — to 



124 THE CO ^V A K 1) . 

beg through blinding tears and choking sobs the restoration 
of that honor lost, that c«an often so '^-.asily be given back to 
her by tiie hands of the tyrant who will not hear her cry — 
to implore the concealment of a slianie too heavy to bear — to 
plead for the forfeit life of some one dearer than the very 
pulses beating in her own bosom^ — to moan for the restora- 
tion of some object of love and protection, her babe perhaps, 
reft from her and her heart and her arms left alike empty — ay, 
to wail for the boon of a crust that shall chase starvation frtjm 
the thin lips of herself or her child and keep them yet a little 
longer as clinging sufferers upon the earth, — these have been 
the compelli-ng motives so often bending the knee of woman 
since the earliest day of recorded time. And yet not one of all 
the long array of unchronicled martyrs has been bowed under 
a deeper wrong than w^as that day made manifest, or uttered a 
more piteous appeal than that day went up to heaven ! 

"Oh, do not cast me off! — do not desert me, Mr. Blades- 
den !'' w^ailed a voice that would have been marvellously 
sweet and tender had it not been broken and roughened by 
grief, while her poor hands wrung and agonized themselves 
in sad sympathy with the writhings of her cowering form. 
" Do not take away from me my last hope of knowing one 
hour of peace before they put me into the coffin! I am no 
w^orse to-day than I was yesterday ! Oh, do pity and save 
me, even if you cannot love me any longer !" 

" I do pity thee, Eleanor Hill, and I should like to save 
thee if I could !" answered a voice rich, full and strong, w ith 
only an occasional tremor in its intonation, and the Quaker 
phraseology seeming to accord peculiarly with the voice as 
well as the general appearance of the man. " But thou hast 
deceived me, and the plain people — " 

" Oh, no, I did not deceive you, Mr. Bladesden," the poor 
girl interrupted. " Do let me speak ! Do let me try if I 
cannot move your heart to believe that I have never willingly 
done wrong — that I have never been intentionally wicked 1'^ 

'' Can thee deny what is in this letter, Eleanor Hill ?" asked 



THE CO W A 11 T). I2i) 

tho Qunker, his voice tronibliiiir, in spite of himself, a liiile 
iiioro thtm it had before done. Then ho added, with some- 
tliini( very like a solvin his throat, that seemed stranp;ely at 
variance with the <^eneriil calmness of his demeanor: "I 
am rich, EU'nnor — very rich, men say ; and yet 1 wonid prive 
half of a'l that I have won in these many years that have 
made mv hair li'ray, if I could see thee lay thy hand upon 
tliv iieart and look up in my face and say: 'The man who 
writes this writes i'alsehood !'" 

" I caiHK^t — oh, (lod, you know that I cannot, Mr. Blades- 
den !" sobl)ed the poor ^irl. " It is true in word, and yet 
heaven knows how false it is in spirit." 

"Thee shonld not appeal to heaven so much, Eleanor, and 
thee should rise from thy knees, for I will believe thee just as 
cpiicklv in the one position as the other, and the friendly 
people make their yea yea and their nay nay, without takinj^ 
the name of the Father every moment between their lips." 

Eleanor Hill managed to rise from her knees and stag:f^er 
to her feet ; but her position was not the less humble after- 
ward, for she stood grasping the back of a chair with both 
hands for support, and with her head bowed down in such 
abject shame and humility that the change of posture seemed 
rather to have been taking on an added degradation than 
putting one away. 

" See, I have done as you told me to do !" she said, with- 
out looking up. " I would be so obedient to you, always, 
if you would only take me away from this miser}' and shame. 
Oh, why would he injure me so cruelly — me to whom he 
should have been merciful, now% if there was any mercy in 
his nature !" 

" Can thee say that Doctor Philip did not do right, if, as 
thee says, he wrote this letter?" asked the Quaker, keeping 
his eyes steadily upon the crouching woman, and making no 
motion to change the distance betw^een them. " Thee had de- 
ceived me, and he knew it. He was sure, perhaps, that thee 
had not told me all, and — " 



126 TIIK GOWAKD. 

" I told you, months B,g:o, when you fir^t spolce of niakinj:^ 
nie your wife, Mr. Bladesden," said the poor <rirl, with one 
momentary lifting of the bowed head ^JftfTonc transient flash 
of womanly spirit — " that I could not give you a whole heart 
— that my life had been very unfortunate, and that if I con- 
sented to marry you, you must promise never to ask me one 
question of my miserable past. Do you remember that I 
did ?" 

" Thee did tell me so much, Eleanor," answered the 
Quaker. " But thee only indicated misfortune — not guilt." 

" I have not been guilty — I was never guilty !" spoke the 
girl, the momentary flash of womanhood not yet extinguished. 
" You will not let me appeal to heaven, Mr. Bladesden, yet 
I must do so once more. I call upon the all-seeing God to 
punish me with even worse grief and shame than I have 
already borne, if there has ever been one guilty wish in my 
mind towards that man or any other — if T have not been 
forced or deceived into every act which makes youLi despise me 
to-day." 

The Quaker turned away, the letter still in his hand, and 
walked toward the window. He lifted the other hand to his 
brow and seemed to brush away something that troubled him ; 
and he yet retained that position towards the girl, as he said, 
after the pause of a moment : 

" I believe thee speaks the truth, Eleanor Hill." 

"You do believe me ! Oh, thank you for that mercy, if 
no more !" and the poor girl had stepped forward, caught his 
disengaged hand in both hers and lifted it to her lips, before 
be could prevent her. Then something in his manner, as he 
turned, seemed to chill her again to the heart, and she fell 
back silent to the support of the chair. 

"I believe thee so far, and yet thee deceived me." 

" How could I tell you all, Mr. Bladesden ? How could I 
publish my own shame ? Oh, why was I ever born !" and 
the voice had sunk low again, and the spirit seemed crushed 
quite as completely as before. 



THE COWARD. 127 

" Then blames Pr. Philip, and yet Dr. Philip was a better 
frieiul to me than thee was; for thee would have allowed me 
to hrins^ disc^race upon my name, and he would not." 

The proverbial worm turns when trodden upon. Eleanor 
Hill had little native spirit, and she had been the veriest worm 
of the dust throughout all that terrible interview; but this 
last deadly stab at the vitals of her faith, given in laudation 
of her destroyer, seemed too much for human endurance, and 
there was yet one spark of spirit left in the very ashes of dis- 
grace. 

"Nathan Bladesden," she said, standing fully erect, and 
anger usurping the place of shame in her face, " I am satis- 
fied ! I will kneel to you no more — beg you for mercy no 
more I If you are base enough to defend the man who could 
write that letter, and to call his action honorable, I would 
rather crawl out into the road and beg my bread from door 
to door, than to call you husband ; and I thank heaven even 
for that letter which has saved me from a worse man than 
Philip Pomeroy !" 

Life and society are both full of terrible struggles. Per- 
haps there is no conflict of them all, more enduring in its 
character, or more racking to those necessarily engaged in 
it, than that which is fought by those who take the Sermon 
on the Mount as their declared pattern, and attempt to carry 
out the principles it enunciates. To forgive when smitten 
is God-like ; but, oh, how difficult for any mere man ! To 
love an enemy is an injunction coming down to us from a 
higher and purer source than that which gave the philosophy 
once taught in the Groves of Academe ; but, oh, tow impos- 
sible for any man to do in realit}^, until he has been baptized 
with fire ! While others have waged this conflict desultorily 
and in isolated instances, for nearly three centuries, the 
Quakers have waged it as a sect, entitling themselves alike 
to wonder and admiration. They have practised a non- 
resistance unaccountable to the fiery children of the world, 
and stark madness on any other supposition than that there 



128 r HE en w a h d. 

is really a special protecting Hand over those who heed the 
peaceful injunction. The}' have triumphed alike in socirty 
and in savage life, when the strong hand failed and the maxims 
of worldly wisdom became powerless. And on the faces of 
the men and women of the sect, to-day — beneath the broad 
hat of the Friend, under the close gray bonnet of his wife, on 
brow and cheek of the Quaker maiden with her softly-folded 
hair, and, even in eye and lip of the young man subjected to 
temptations wijich have power to ft'ver and wreck all others, 
— in all, there is the record of a long line of men at ])eace 
with God, themselves, and the world, as easily read and as 
unmistakable as are the traces of toil, unrest, and consuming 
passion on the countenances of those who have fought through 
the world with the defiant heart and the strong hand. They 
have met despisers as well as foes, outside of their own 
charmed circle; but they have-also met admirers. And to- 
day there are men who could not and who would not take up 
their cross of self-control and occasional self-denial so long 
and so patiently carried, — but who cannot and will not refuse 
to them the tribute of heartfelt admiration, and who often 
heave fruitless sighs towards that land of mental peace from 
which they are themselves excluded, because they neither 
share its blood nor know the tongue of its speech. 

But the Quaker has not conquered without struggling, and 
he has not always conquered at any sacrifice. Twice, the old 
men of the Revolution used to tell us, the Pater Patrice was 
known to vent words of even profane anger — once, when the 
Continental troops failed him on the day of Long Island, and 
again, when Lee disappointed his just expectations and almost 
broke his line of battle at Monmouth. These were the two 
great exceptions proving the rule of his habitual self-command 
and his religious purity of speech; and the occasional out- 
burst of anger in the Quaker Wood may be held to illustrate 
the same self-control — to prove its abiding existence by the 
weight of the shock which momentarily throws it into con- 
fusion. 



THE COWARD. 129 

The face of Nathan Bladesden showed, as Eleanor Hill 
Bpoke the last words already recorded, a mental conflict to 
which he was evidently little accustomed. The calm cheek 
flushed, the smooth brow corrugated, and the dark eye was 
for the moment so nearly fierce that the purity of tho 
Quaker blood might well have been doubted. And when she 
had finished, the lips of the merchant uttered words, at 
which words themselves and their tone the speaker would 
equally have shuddered half an hour before : 

" Doctor Philip Pomeroy is an infernal scoundrel — unfit to 
live 1 He deserves to be killed, and I could kill him with 
my own hands I" 

" Ha !" It was something like a cry of joy from the lips 
of the poor girl. " Oh, I am so glad ! You know this man 

— you hate him — you have only been trying me — you " 

and her brow and cheeks glowed with excitement as she 
looked up in the Quaker's face. Then her eyes fell again, 
for she did not read there what she had been led to expect 
by his words. There was anger, but no pity ; and even the 
anger was dying out under the strong habit of self-control, 
as rapidly as the momentary glow of a slight conflagration 
goes down under the dense volume of water poured upon it 
by the engine. 

"Thee mistakes me, Eleanor Hill!" he said. "I may 
follow the evil ways of the world's people so far as to hate 
the bad man who has ruined thee, but I have been speaking 
to thee in all earnest. I have not been 'trying thee,' as thee 
calls it. I pity thee, truly, and would help thee, but — " 

" But in the only way in which you could help me, Nathan 
Bladesden, by lifting me out of this horrible pit in which my 
feet are sinking lower and lower every day in defiance of all 
my struggles and all my prayers — you desert me and leave 
me to perish. I understand you at last, and God help you 
and me !" 

"Thee knows I cannot marry thee, Eleanor Hill, after 
what has passed," said the Quaker, apologetically. 
8 



130 THE COWARD. 

" I know notliing of the kind, Xatlian Bladcsdon !" answered 
the f^irl, no tears in her eyes now, and her words short and 
even petulant. " You have nothing to do with my past, any 
P'ore than I with yours, to come to the truth of the matter ! 
Y«^.i know, in your own soul, that had you despised the 
malice of that serpent in human shape, and kept the engage- 
ment you had made with me, no man on earth would have 
owned a more faithful or a more loving wife. But you have 
cast me off, degraded me even lower than before in my own 
Bight, made me kneel to you as I should only have kneeled 
to my Father in heaven ; and this is the end." 

" Eleanor — " the Quaker began to say ; but the girl inter- 
rupted him. 

" Please don't say another word to me I I understand you, 
now, and I know my fate. Let me have that letter, and do 
not speak any more in the streets, of the shame of a woman 
whom you once professed to love, than is absolutely necessary ; 
and I shall never ask another favor of you in this world." 

" Eleanor Hill, thee is doubting my honor !" said the 
Quaker, alike forgetting that such idle words as " honor" 
were only supposed to belong to the "world's people," and 
that his voice was becoming so low and broken that he could 
scarcely make himself understood. 

"You have done more than doubt mine!" answered tho 
girl, bitterly. " You have told me, in so many words, that 
because I had been cruelly wronged and outraged by a man 
who should have cared for me and protected me, I had no 
'honor' left. "We begin to understand each other." 

A moment of silence, the girl weeping again but not con- 
vulsively as before ; the Quaker with his hand upon his brow 
and his eyes hidden. How materially the situation had 
changed within a few minutes, since Eleanor Hill was kneel- 
ing with clasped hands and tearing out her heart with sobs. 
Yet another moment of silence, and then the merchant said : 

" I am going away, Eleanor. Has thee nothing more to 
say to me ?'' 



THE COWARD. 131 

"Not another word, Mr. Bladosden I'' answered the girl, 
through her set teeth. The Quaker rai.sed his head, looked 
at her face for one moment, and then slowly moved towards 
the door, still looking towards her. She made no movement, 
as he seemed to expect that she would do, and as it seemed 
possible that some changed action on his part might depend 
upon her doing. 

" Farewell, Eleanor !" The Quaker stood in the door, hat 
in hand. 

"Good-bye, Mr. Bladesden I" The girl still remained on 
the other side of the room, as if either too much stupefied or 
too indignant to make any nearer approach. The next 
moment Nathan Bladesden had left the room and descended 
the stairs ; and within two minutes after, seated alone in the 
buggy, behind his span of fast horses, he was bowling along 
towards the Darby road, apparently driving at such speed as 
if he would willingly fly as fast as possible away from a scene 
where his manhood had been severely tested and not found 
proof in extremity. 

Fo> an instant after the departure of the Quaker, Eleanor Hill 
stood erect as he had last seen her. Both hands were pressed 
upon her heart, and it might have seemed doubtful whether 
she had nerved herself to that position or lacked power to 
quit it. Then her eyes fell upon the letter which Bladesden, 
when she requested him to leave it, had dropped upon a 
chair; and at the sight the spell, whatever it was, gave way. 
The poor girl dropped upon her knees before another chair 
which stood near her, with a cry of such heart-breaking agony 
as must have moved any heart, not utterly calloused, that 
listened to it, — dashed her hand into her long, dishevelled 
hair with such a gesture as indicated that she would madly 
tear it out by the roots in handfuls, then desisted and broke 
out through moans and sobs into one of those prayers which 
the purists believe are seldom or never forgiven by the heaven 
to which they are addressed — a prayer for immediate death I 

"Oh God !— let me die ! Do let me die, here and at this 



132 THE COWARD. 

moment I I cannot live and be so wretched I Let me die ! 
— oh, let me die I" 

Whether unpardonable or not, the prayer was certainly im- 
pious ; for next to that last extremity of crime which any man 
commits when he dismisses his own life, is his crime when he 
becomes a suicide in heart and wish, without daring to use 
the physical force necessary for that consummation. Despair is 
cowardice ; the theft of time is a sin that no amendment can 
repay ; and the robbery of that time which heaven allots to a 
human life, whether in act or thought, is something over 
which humanity well may shudder. 

But Eleanor Hill's impious prayer had no answer — at least 
no answer except the denial found in the breath of life which 
still fluttered from her nostrils and the blood which seemed to 
flow in torture through the poor frame sympathizing with the 
mind within. The aspiration was scarcely yet dead upon her 
lips when there was a footfall on the floor behind her; and 
she sprung up with one wild desperate hope darting through 
her brain, that the stem judge had at last relented after leav- 
ing her presence — that he had proved himself capable of a 
great sacrifice and returned to extricate her feet from the pit 
into which she was so irretrievably sinking. But that hope 
died on the instant, another and if possible a madder one 
taking its place ; for before her, as she turned, stood Carlton 
Brand, though so disfigured and changed in appearance that 
any one except the most intimate of acquaintances might 
have been excused for doubting his identity, 
r The young lawyer had always been noted for a neatness 
of personal appearance approaching to dandyism without 
reaching that mark ; and only an hour before, in face and 
garb, he would have attracted attention in any circle, from 
the perfection of every appointment. Now, his face was 
bruised and swollen ; his eyes were bloodshot and fiery ; one 
lappel of his coat was torn from the collar ; his coat and his 
nether garments were soiled and dusty ; his hat was crushed 
and out of shape ; and every detail of his presence seemed to 



THE COWARD. 133 

be marred in corresponding proportion. A rough peasant's 
or a highwayman's disguise for a masquerade, would scarcely 
have changed him more than he had been changed, without 
the least premeditation, by that little rencontre with Dick 
pompton, to which we have already been unbidden witnesses. 
Absorbed as poor Eleanor Hill was in her own situation, she 
could scarcely suppress a scream when she saw the aspect of a 
man who always appeared before her so differently ; and there 
was fright as well as concern in her voice as she said : 

"Why, Carlton Brand I Good heaven I— -what has hap- 
pened to you ?" 

" Much, Eleanor I" answered the lawyer, dropping into a 
chair with every indication of weariness, and wiping his 
heated brow with a handkerchief which showed that it had 
been soiled in removing some of the grime from his clothing. 

"Your clothes are torn— your face is swollen! Have you 
been attacked ? — beaten ? Are you seriously hurt ?" inquired 
the girl, coming close to him and laying her hand on his 
shoulder with the affectionate anxiety which a sister might 
have shown. These women have no bounds to that sympathy 
which alternately makes them angels and lures them on the 
road to be fiends ; and there is probably no true w^oman, who 
had ever been wife, sweetheart or mother, but would forget 
at least one pang of her pain on the rack, in sympathy for 
Bome wronged and suffering person who approached her I 

" Oh, no !" and Carlton Brand tried to laugh and made a 
miserable failure of the attempt, with his bruised face and 
swollen mouth. " Do not be alarmed, Eleanor. I have simply 

been in a little encounter with one of my neighbors, and I 

scarcely know what has happened— I believe my clothes are 
torn and I suppose that I am disfigured a little." 

" Disfigured a little ! Good heaven, I should think you 
were !" said the girl, coming still closer and looking into his 
face. As she did so, the eyes of the lawyer, not too blood- 
shot for sight if they were for grace of aspect, detected the 



134 THE COWARD. 

BwoUen condition of her face, the fearful redness of her cye3, 
and the various symptoms which told through what a storm 
of shame and sorrow she had lately been passing. He started 
to his feet at once, grasping her hand : 

" Eleanor, you are worse hurt than myself ! Tell me what 
has happened I Has he been torturing you again ?" 

" Oh, yes," answered the poor girl — " worse than torturing 
me ! I could bear his personal cruelty, for I have grown 
used to it. But he has just made me lose my last hope in 
life, and I have nothing left me but to die !" 

'' Your last hope V echoed Carlton Brand. " What ? Has 
Mr. Bladesden — " 

"Mr. Bladesden has just been here," answered Eleanor 
Hill, choking down the grief and indignation that w^ere so 
painfully combating each other in her throat, dropping her 
head as she had done a few minutes before in the presence 
of the merchant, and holding out in her hand the crushed 
letter which Bladesden had dropped as he left the house. 
*' Mr. Bladesden has just been here, and he brought this letter 
to read to me. It had been sent to his store, and he received 
it this morning. You can see, after reading it, what hope in 
life he has left me !" 

" Curse him I He deserves eternal perdition, and will 
find it !" 

Carlton Brand had momentarily forgotten his own troubles, 
in the evident anguish of the young girl, just as a few mo- 
ments before she had merged all those sorrows in anxiety for 
his personal safety. He took the letter she handed, smoothed 
out the crumpled folds made in it by the grasp of anger and 
shame, and read the damning words that follow — words so 
black and dastardly that one of the fiends from the lower pit 
might come back to earth to clear away from his name the 
suspicion that he had ever penned them. A few sentences 
of this bona fide communication are necessarily omitted, in 
an interest easily understood : 



THE COWARD. 135 

West Philadelphia, June — , 1SG3. ; 
Mb. Nathan Bladesden : 

Sir : — You are a mercliant of respectal)ility, as vfell as a member 
of the Society of Friends — a society for wliicli I have the highest 
respect, although I do not happen to have been born a member of 
it. I should very much regret to see you made the victim of a 
designing woman, and linked for life to one who would bring dis- 
grace upon your name and family. Report says that you are en- 
gaged to be married, or that you very probably may be so at an 
early period, to Miss Eleanor Hill, the ward for some years of Dr. 
Philip Pomeroy, and who is still resident in the house of that medi- 
cal gentleman. I suppose that you know very little of the early 
history of the young lady, as, if you had known, you would never 
have allowed yourself to be entangled in that manner. Her father 
left her a few thousands of dollars in property, which she no doubt 
has ttie reputation of still possessing, while I have very good reason 
to know that it has really all (or nearly all) been used up in un- 
fortunate speculations by different persons to whom she intrusted 
it, and that she is little else than a beggar, except as the Doctor 
olfers her a home. As to her personal character, which is the thing 
of greatest consequence at the present moment, — Miss Hill was a 
very giddy girl, and many of her friends had fears for her future ; 
but none of them foresaw what would indeed be the issue of the 
unfortunate situation in which she was placed. I am writing this 
letter, as you must be aware, for no purposes of my own, and simply 
to serve an honorable man who seems to have been tricked and 
cajoled by unscrupulous people. As a consequence, I must ask of you 
as a right which you cannot disregard, that you will not show this 
letter to Dr. Pomeroy, who might know enough of the direction from 
which such a revelation would be likeliest to come, to awaken his 
suspicion and put him in the way of injuring me. This promised, 
I now go on to state what you will never cease to thank me for 
communicating to you, if you are the high-toned man of honor that 
I suppose. Dr. Pomeroy is well known to be a man of somewhat 
violent passions ; and though I believe that his conduct has been 
nearly spotless during his professional career, yet there are stains 
against him for which he is probably the sorriest of men in his 
calmer moments. Miss Hill, as I have said, was giddy and thought- 
less, if no worse ; and very soon after the death of her father, those 
who happened to see her in company with her guardian, noticed 
that she paid him attentions which showed a very warm personal 
attachment, while he received them as a bachelor man of the world 



136 THE COWARD. 

could not very well avoid receiving gucli marks of regard from a 
young and pretty girl. How long this went on, I am not at liberty 
to say, even if I have any means of knowing : it is enough that, to 
my knowledge and that of more than one person with whom you 
are acquainted, the natural result followed. If there was any se- 
duction, I should be puzzled to say on which side the art was used ; 
but perhaps when you remember that the lady has, during all your 
acquaintance with her, (at least I presume so, from your continuing 
to visit her, j passed herself off on you as pure enough to be worthy 
of the honor of your hand, you may be able to form some idea 
whether she might not have been quite as much in fault as her 
partner in crime. I say "partner in crime," as I have no wish or 
motive to shelter Dr. Pomeroy. Perhaps I ought not to say more, 
and indeed my pen hesitates when I attempt to set down what I 
consider so lamentable, as well as so culpable. But I must go on, 
after going thus far. The secret of Miss Hill's remaining at the 
house of Dr. Pomeroy after her attainment of majority, is that a 
guilty attachment and connection has existed between them for not 
less than five years past, unsuspected by most persons who know 
them, but well known to myself and some others, at least one of 
whom has been the accidental witness of their crjme. If you should 
think proper to tax her with this depravity, and she should choose 
to deny this statement, by way of convincing yourself whether this 
is a foul calumny or a bitter truth, ask her * * -x- 

******■»•»■)* 

I hope and believe that you will take the warning that I have thus 
conveyed, and not give yourself any trouble to discover the writer, 
who does not conceal his name from any other motives than those 
which you can understand and approve. A Tkue Fkiexd. 

Carlton Brand read through this precious document with- 
out speaking — a document not worse in motive than all other 
anonymous communications, any one of which should subject 
the perpetrator, if discovered, to cropped ears and slitted 
^tongue, — but worse than all others of its evil kind in the atro- 
city of its surrounding circumstances, as the reader will have 
no difficulty in believing when a little additional light is shed 
u'pon the personality of the writer by the chapters immediately 
following. 



THE COWARD. 137 



CHAPTER VII. 

A Return to 1856— Nicholas Hill, Iron Merchant 

His Death, his Daughter and his Friend — How Dr. 

POMEROY became A GUARDIAN, AND HOW HE DISCHARGED 

THAT Duty— A Rum and an Awakening— The market 

VALUE OF DUNDERHAVEN STOCK IN 1858. 

* 

Seven years before 1863, and consequently in 1856, died 
Nicholas Hill, a merchant of Philadelphia, whose place of 
business on Market Street above Third had been the seat of a 
respectable though not remarkably extensive trade, for nearly 
a quarter of a century. His trade had been in iron and hard- 
ware, but the material of his stock by no means entered into 
his own composition, for he was a man somewhat noted for his 
quiet and retiring manners and a pliancy of spirit making him 
at times the victim of the unscrupulously plausible. His pri- 
vate fortune met with sundry serious drawbacks on account 
of this weakness, though a generally prosperous business 
enabled him to keep intact the few thousands which he had 
already won, and gradually if slowly to add to the accumula- 
tion. He had remained a widower since the death of his 
wife ten years before his own demise ; and his pleasant though 
quiet little house on Locust Street, had only contained one 
member of his family besides himself, for years before his 
death— his only daughter and only child, Eleanor. 

The warmest and longest-continued friendships are very 
often formed by persons diametrically opposed in character 
and disposition ; and the rule seemed to hold good in the in- 
stance under notice. A friendship formed several years 
before between the merchant and Dr. Philip Pomeroy, when 
the latter was a practising physician resident in the city 
proper, had never died out or become weakened, at least in 
the heart of the confiding and quiet dealer in iron, and there 
was no reason to believe that the sentiment had been more 



138 THE C W A K 1). 

transient in the breast of the physician. Mr. Hill had been 
suffering under the incipient threats of consumption, for years, 
and the doctor had been his medical attendant, as before the 
death of his wife he had filled the same confidential relation 
towards that lady and the other members of his household. 
Neither personally nor by marriage had the merchant any near 
relatives in the city or its vicinity ; and his retiring disposi- 
tion was such that while he made many friends in the ordi- 
nary acceptation of the word, he had few w^ho stood in that 
peculiar relation which the French, supplying a noun which 
has scarcely yet crept into our own language, designate as 
les intimes. 

It was not strange, then, that when Nicholas Hill was sud- 
denly seized with hemorrhage of the lungs and brought home 
in an almost dying condition from his store, one afternoon in 
November, 1856, Dr. Pomeroy, who was hurriedly summoned 
to his aid, was summoned quite as much in the capacity of 
friend as in that of medical attendant. The story of life or 
death was soon told. The merchant had believed, from the 
moment of attack, that his day of probation was over ; and, 
apart from his natural anxiety for the welfare of his only 
child, there was little tie to bind the sufferer to earth. His 
wife — his wife that day as much as she had been at any 
period of their wedded life, — had long been awaiting him, as 
he believed, in a better world ; and there is something in the 
facility with which those quiet, good people, who seem never 
to have enjoyed existence with the fiery zest which tingles in 
finger and lip of the sons of pleasure and sorrow, give up 
their hold upon being and pass away into the infinite unknown 
which lies beyond the dark valley, — something that may well 
make it a matter of question whether theirs is not after all the 
golden secret of human happiness, for which all ages have 
be.en studying and delving. 

The doctor came, with that rapidity which was usual with 
him, and with every mark of intense intejest on his face and 
in his general demeanor. He found the invalid sinking 



THE COWARD. ' 139 

rapidly, and his attendants, the weeping Eleanor, then a 
handsome, promising but defectively-educated girl of near 
eighteen, and two or three of the ladies of the near neighbor- 
hood who had gathered in*to tender their services when it 
was known that the merchant had been brought home in a 
dying condition. A few words from the sufferer, uttered in 
a low tone almost in the ear of the stooping physician, and 
then all the others were sent out of the room except his 
daughter, whose pleading gesture, asking to be allowed to 
remain within the room was not disregarded, but who was 
motioned by the doctor to take her place at the window, 
beyond supposed hearing of the words that were to pass 
between the two friends. 

" Tell me the exact truth," said the low voice of Nicholas 
Hill, when these dispositions had been made. " I am pre- 
pared to hear any judgment which your lips may speak. 
There is no hope for me ? — I am dying ?" 

Either the doctor could not speak, or he would not. He 
merely bowed his head in a manner that the questioner well 
understood. 

^ " So I thought, from the first," said the dying man. '' The 
life blood does not flow away in that manner for nothing. 
And I do not know that I regret the end, for I have lived 
almost as long as I could make myself useful, and I think I 
am as nearly prepared to die as poor, fallen humanity can 
hope to be." 

" I hope and believe that you are indeed prepared to die, 
my dear, good friend," answered the doctor, with feeling in 
his tone, and the feeble hand of the sufferer meanwhile within 
his. *'I cannot hold out a false hope to you— you cannot 
live. How gladly science and friendship would both join 
hands in doing something to keep you in the world, you 
know; but how much we shall all miss you and grieve for 
you, you do not know." 

^^ ''That you will miss me, I hope," said the dying man. 
" But there is no occasion whatever to grieve for me. It is 



140 THE COWARD. 

a peaceful end, I think, and in God's own good time. I have 

but one anxiety." 

He paused, and the doctor nodded his head towards the 
Bide of the room where poor Eleanor was sitting, trying to 
distract her own thoughts by looking out of the window. 
The father saw that he understood him, and pressed the hand 
that he held. 

" Yes, you have guessed rightly," he said. " My only- 
anxiety is for the fate of my child. Eleanor is a good girl, 
but she is yet very young, and she will need protection." 

" She shall find it !" said the doctor, solemnly. 

The face of the dying man lit up with an expression of the 
sincerest pleasure and happiness, and his feeble grasp again 
pressed the hand of high health which lay so near his own 
ebbing pulse. 

" I believe you and I thank you, my friend as well as 
physician," he replied. " I have not been afraid to think of 
this day, as they tell me that so many are ; and my affairs 
are in some degree prepared for it. I have a handsome 
property, though not a large one, and you will find a will 
lying in the private drawer of the safe at the store. With 
the exception of a few legacies to friends, a small one to 
yourself included — it all goes to Eleanor, and you will find 
yourself named my executor." 

"A confidence which flatters me, and which I hope I shall 
deserve," said the doctor, as the enfeebled man again paused 
for a moment. 

"I kiiow that you will," the sufferer resumed. "Thanks 
to my property, Eleanor will not be a burthen to you, 
except in the demand of care. Her few relatives, as you 
know, are distant ones, and none of them reside nearer than 
California. There will be none to interfere with you in 
guiding her aright, keeping her pure in her remaining years 
of girlhood, and watching over her until she becomes the wife 
of some honorable man, or in some other way ceases to need 
your protection. " 



THE COWARD. 141 

" I accept the charge as freely as it is given, and I will 
perform it as I would for one of my own blood I" was the 
solemn answer of the medical man. 

" I knew that before I asked, or I should never have asked 
at all 1" said the dying man. "Eleanor, my daughter, come 
here." 

The young girl obeyed and knelt beside the bed, striving 
to restrain her sobs and tears. The father laid his hand on 
her head and gently smoothed the masses of dark brown hair 
with fingers that would so soon be beyond capacity for such 
a caress. 

"Eleanor," he said, "you are almost a woman in years, 
and you must be altogether a woman, now. I am going to 
leave you — I may leave you in a few minutes." 

" Oh, I know it, father ! — dear, dear father I Oh, what 
will become of me ?" and in spite of her efforts to restrain 
herself she sobbed and choked piteously. 

" You will be cared for, my child, not only by heaven but 
by kind friends ; and you must not grieve so over what does 
not grieve me at all," said the departing parent. "Dr. Pome- 
roy is to be the executor of my estate, and your guardian. 
Love and obey him, my daughter, in every thing, as you 
would love and obey me if I was allowed to remain with you. 
Do you understand me ? — do you promise me, Eleanor ?'' 

" I do understand you ! — I do promise you, dear, dear 
father I" sobbed the young girl. " I will obey Dr. Philip, 
and try to be good all my life, so that I can meet you where 
I know that you are going to meet my mother." 

" My dear, good child ! — you and the doctor have made me 
Bo happy ! Kiss me now, Eleanor, and then let me sleep a 
few moments." And directl}^ after that kiss of agonized love 
was given, he fell back upon his pillow — as if he was indeed 
dropping into a quiet sleep; but the doctor felt the hand that 
lay within his relax its pressure, one or two sighs fluttered 
from the quivering lips, while a light foam tinged with blood 



142 THE COWARD. 

crept up to them and bubbled there, and the moment after 
Eleanor Hill was fatherless. 

And jet the poor girl who sobbed so heart-brokenly over 
the corpse of one who had been to her the truest and kindest 
of parents, was not fatherless in that desolate sense in which 
the word is so often used. The ties of blood might be rudely 
broken, but did not the hand of true friendship stand ready to 
assert itself ? Had not Philip Pomeroy promised the friend 
of years, that he would be father and protector to her — that 
he would shelter her with all the power given to his ripe 
manhood, and hold her pure as the very angels, so far as he 
ha(\ power to direct her course ? Xo — not fatherless : the 
weeping girl, in the midst of her sobs and unfelt caresses over 
what had once been the father of her idolatry, appreciated the 
truth and was partially comforted. 

It so chanced that Dr. Pomeroy, in his domestic relations, 
was admirably placed for offering a home to the daughter of 
his dead friend. Marrying did not seem to run in the Pomeroy 
family, for not only was the doctor a confirmed bachelor, some 
years past middle age, but his only living sister had kept her- 
self free, like him, of matrimonial chains, and presided pleas- 
antly over his household under her maiden name of Miss 
Hester Pomeroy. While the removal of a young girl of 
eighteen to a bachelor's residence, without the cover of female 
society, might have seemed grossly improper in spite of the 
color given to it by the guardianship so lately acquired, there 
could be no impropriety whatever in her becoming the com- 
panion and to some extent the pupil of the bachelor's maiden 
sister of forty. 

Dr. Pomeroy's residence was at that time within the city 
limits, though in that extreme upper section bordering on the 
Schuylkill ; but his practice had been gradually extending 
out into the country over the river; and ideas long cherished, 
of a residence beyond the reach of the noises of the great city, 
were gradually becoming realized. At the time of the death 
of his friend, that mansion which it has just been our sad 



THE COWARD. 143 

privilege to enter, was in the course of erection ; and in the 
spring which followed he took up his abode within it, with 
his sister, his ward, and that array of domestics necessary 
for a man of his supposed wealth and somewhat expensive 
habits. 

It did indeed seem that Eleanor Hill was blessed among 
orphans if not among women. Her tears dried easily, as 
they had good cause to do. The residence to which she had 
been removed was a very handsome and even a luxurious 
one ; Miss Hester Pomeroy w^as one of those good easy souls 
who neither possess any strength of character themselves nor 
envy it in others,— with an almost idolizing admiration of her 
gifted and popular brother, and a belief that no movement of his 
could be other than the best possible under the circumstances ; 
and the doctor himself, a man of fine education, distinguished 
manners, admitted professional skill, and an uprightness of 
carriage which seemed to more than atone for any lack of 
suavity in his demeanor— the doctor himself appeared to be 
anxious, from the first, that no shadow of accusation should lie 
against his name, of inattention to the ward committed to his 
charge. From the day of her coming into his house, when- 
ever his profesgional engagements would allow, he spent 
much time in the society of Eleanor, greatly to the delight 
of Miss Hester, who had thought herself very unattractive 
company and wished that her gifted brother had some one in 
the house more worthy to be his companion. He selected 
books for the young girl; brought home others ; directed her 
studies into channels calculated to form her mind (at least 
some portions of it) ; invited the young people of the neigh- 
borhood to meet her ; drove her out frequently ; took such 
care of her health as he might have done of that of a darlin- 
daughter or an idolized sweetheart; and gave evidence tha°t 
none could doubt, of his intention to fulfil in the most liberal 
Jind conscientious manner the sacred promises he had made 
over the death-bed of her father. 

To the youug girl, meanwhile her surroundings became 



144 , THE COWARD. 

Elysium. She had warm affections, of that clinging charac- 
ter which finds no diflBculty in fastening almost anywhere if 
permitted time and quiet. She had little force of will and 
still less of that serpent wisdom which discerns the shadow 
of danger before that danger really approaches. She was 
equally good, by nature, and weak by disposition — formed of 
that material out of which good wives and mothers are so 
easily made, and which may, on the other hand, be fashioned 
so easily into the most melancholy semblance of lost woman- 
hood. She was handsome, if not strictly beautiful, and the 
lips of her guardian, so strict to most others, told her so with 
smiles and low-breathed words. She was flattered by his 
preference, paid her deferentially in public and yet more un- 
reservedly when none but themselves heard the words he ut- 
tered, — proud to be thus distinguished by one so attractire 
in appearance and unimpeachable in position, — bound to him 
by that obedience enjoined by her dying father, and by that 
strong tie of gratitude which she felt to be due to her willing 
and unrecompensed protector, — and brought into that close 
communion with his strong mind which could not fail to sway 
an unmeasured influence over her, by those studies in poetry, 
romance and philosophy which he had himself directed. 

It is an old story, and melancholy as old. Before she had 
been six months an inmate of the house of Dr. Pomeroy, 
Eleanor Hill loved him as madly as young, defenceless and 
untrained girlhood can love that which supplies its best ideal 
and lures it on by the most specious of pretences. Not more 
than that time had elapsed, when she would have plucked 
out her heart and laid it in his hand, had he asked it and had 
such an act of bodily self-sacrifice been possible. Less than a 
year, and the tale of her destiny was told. For weeks before, 
the words of her " guardian" and " father" had been such as 
ill became either relation, but not warmer, still, than the 
snared heart of the young girl craved and echoed. Then 
came that promise of the dearest tie on earth, which falls on 
the ear of loving woman with a sweeter sound than any other 



/ 



THE COWARD. 145 

ever uttered under the sun or stars. He loved her — that 
proud, high-spirited, distinguished man, the friend of her 
father, and the man for whose hand (so he had told her, not 
boastingly but in pity, and so she had every reason to be- 
lieve) the wealthiest, the most beautiful and the most arro- 
gant belles of Broad Street and Girard Avenue had been will- 
ing to barter all their pride and all their coyness — he loved 
her, the poor young and comparatively portionless girl, held 
her worthy to be his wife, and was willing to share his high 
destiny with her ! 

What marvel that the untutored heart beat faster than its 
wont, when that golden gate of paradise was opened in ex- 
pectation to her eyes ? What marvel that all the lessons of 
childhood, which stood between her and obedience to tho 
master of her destiny, were forgotten or only remembered 
with abhorrence ? What marvel that the past became a 
dream, the present dull and unendurable, and only the deliri- 
ous future worth a wish or a thought ? What marvel that 
one evening when the full moon of August was peeping in 
through the trees which already began to cast their shade 
over the new home into the room where the " guardian" and 
the "ward" were sitting alone together — when the air seemed 
balm and the earth heaven — when the night-sounds of late 
summer made a sadness that was not sorrow, and temptation 
put" on the very robes of holy feeling to do its evil work — 
when the lips of the subtle, bad, unscrupulous man of the 
world repeated words as sweet as they were unmeaning, 
promises as hollow as they were delicious and prayers as be- 
wildering as they were sacrilegious — when the heart of the 
young girl had proved traitor to her senses and all the 
guardian angels of her maidenhood had fled away and left her 
to a conflict for which she had neither wisdom nor strength — 
what marvel that the moment of total madness came to one 
and perhaps to both, and that before it ended Eleanor Hill 
lay upon the breast of her destroyer, a poor dishonored thing, 
frightened, delirious, half-senseless, and yet blindly happier in 
9 



146 THE COWAPwD. 

her shame than she had ever been while the white doves still 
folded their wings above her I 

We know something of ends and something of intermediary 
occiirrences, but vcvj little of beginnings. The common eje 
can sec the oak from a tiny sprout to its lordship of the forest, 
but none may behold the first movement of the germ in the 
buried acorn. The unnatural rebellion of Absalom, the 
reckless treason of Arnold, the struggle for universal empire 
of Xapoleon, all stand out boldly on the historic page, as 
they appeared at the moment of culmination ; but who sees 
the disobedient son of David when he walks -out into the 
night with the first unfilial curse upon his lips, or the arch- 
traitor of the Western Continent as he starts from his sleep 
with the first thought of his black deed creeping under his 
hair and curdling his blood, or the victor of Marengo nursing 
his first far-off vision of the dangerous glory yet to be ! We 
can know nothing more of the beginnings of vice in the hearts 
of the great criminals of private life. It can never be known, 
until all other secrets are unveiled before the eyes of a 
startled universe, whether Dr. Pomeroy, (no imaginary char- 
acter, but a personage too real and very slightly disguised), 
in this ruin wrought by his hand had been acting the part of \ 
an unmitigated scoundrel from the beginning, a lie upon his 
lip and mockery in his heart when he promised the dying 
Nicholas Hill protection to his helpless daughter, and every 
act and word of his intercourse with her subtly calculated to 
bring about the one unholy end, — or whether he had merely 
X)ermitted himself, without early premeditation, to do the un- 
pardonable evil which proved so convenient. For the welfare 
of the victim, it seemed a question of little consequence : for 
the credit of humanity, alw^ays enough disgraced, at best, by 
its robbers and cut-throats of the moral highway, it may 
be at least worth a thought. After events make it doubtful 
whether the very worst had not been intended and labored 
for from the outset ; and certain it is that if there had before 
been one redeeming trait to temper the moral baseness of 



THE COWARD. 147 

Philip Pdmeroy, from the moment when that ruin was accom- 
plished no obstacle of goodness hindered his way towards 
the end of the irredeemable. If he had before kept terms 
with Eleanor Hill and his own soul, he kept those terms no 
longer. 

The poor girl had of course no right to be happy in her 
new and guilty relation, and yet she was so for a time — 
almost entirely happy. She had been wooed and won (oh, 
how fearfully won I) under an explicit promise of marriage 
and with continual repetitions of words of respect which left 
her no room to doubt the good faith of the man who uttered 
them. She was more than a little weak, as has already been 
said ; very unsuspicious and clinging in her trust; and neither 
wise enough to know that the man who respected her suflS- 
ciently to make her his wife, no insurmountable obstacle lying 
in his way, would have made her so before laying his hand on 
the hem of the garment of her purity, — or precise enough to 
feel that any disgrace had really fallen upon her, which 
w^ould not be removed the moment that promise of marriage 
was fulfilled. Then, by a natural law which can be easily 
understood if it cannot be explained, the young girl a thou- 
sand times more deeply loved the master of her destiny be- 
cause he had made himself entirely so ; and for a time, at 
least, the conduct of the victor towards his helpless captive 
was full of such exquisite tenderness in private that she could 
not have found room for a regret had her heart even revolted 
at the situation in which she was placed. He did not speak 
of an immediate fulfilment of his promise of marriage — no, 
bat he had before hinted that owing to certain temporary cir- 
cumstances (oh, those " temporary circumstances" !) the hour 
when he could make her his own before the world must be 
yet a little delayed ; and so the young heart took no fright at 
the procrastination. Good Miss Hester, meanwhile, saw 
nothing suspicious and suspected nothing improper. Per- 
haps she saw a deeper light of tenderness in the eyes of the 
poor betrayed girl, when they beamed upon him who should 



148 THE COWARD. 

have been her husband ; and perhaps she saw that her brother 
treated his ward with even more delicate attention than he 
had shown during the months before; but the spinster's eyes 
had no skill to read beneath the mask of either, and if she 
thought upon the subject at all her impressions were not 
likely to go farther than the mental remark : " How good 
Philip is to Eleanor ; how obedient to him she seems to be ; 
and how happy for both that he ever became her guardian 
and she his charge !" 

Under such circumstances the awakening, even a partial 
one, could not come otherwise than very slowly. But unless 
the young girl was an absolute idiot or utterly depraved, an 
awakening must come at some period or other. Though 
weak and ill-trained, Eleanor Hill was by no means an idiot ; 
and the angels of heaven could look down and see that 
through all that had occurred there had been no depravity in 
her soul, no coarse, sensual passion in her nature. If she 
had fallen, she had been sacrificed on the altar of man's un- 
scrupulous libertinism, and offering up the incense, mean- 
while, of a good, yielding, compliant, worshipping heart. 
The moral perceptions may have been blunted, but they were 
not annihilated ; the reason may have been choked and dizzied 
in the flood of feeling, but it was immortal and could not be 
drowned. 

Months had elapsed after the culmination of their inter- 
course, before the sense of right became strong enough and 
the heart bold enough, for the young girl to hint at the fulfil- 
ment of what had been so long delayed. The answer was a 
passionate kiss and an assurance that " only a little time 
more should elapse — just yet it would not be prudent and was 
In fact impossible." Eleanor wondered: she had not yet 
learned to doubt ; and for a time she kept silent. Again, a 
few weeks later, and the question was repeated. This time 
a light laugh met her ear, and there was more of the master 
toying with his slave or the spoiled boy trifling with his play- 
thing, than there had been in the first instance. Still the 



THE COWARD. 149 

promise was repeated, and still there were "insurmountable 
obstacles." Another interval of silence, then a third request, 
this time with tears, that he would do her the justice he had 
promised. To this ill-nature responded, and for the first time 
the young girl learned what a claw of pride and arrogance 
lay folded in the velvet palm of the tiger. She shrunk away 
within herself, at his first harsh word, almost believing that 
she must have committed some wrong in speaking to him of 
his delayed promise ; and when he kissed her at the end of 
that conversation and said: "There, run away and do not 
bother me about it when I am worried and busy I" she almost 
felt — heaven- help her poor, weak heart I — that that kiss was 
one of needed pardon I 

The dullest eyes will recognize at last what only the quick 
and accustomed discern at first. Eleanor Hill had been blind, 
but her eyes gradualh' opened, — with an agony in the first 
gleams of light, of which her yielding, compliant nature had 
before given little promise. Nearly two years had elapsed 
after her becoming the ward of Dr. Philip Pomeroy, and 
more than one year after that fatal era in her own destiny, 
when the wronged girl, then twenty and within only twelve 
months of her legal majority, at last sounded the depths of 
that man's nature sufiBciently to know that he had been in- 
venting the existence of obstacles — that he had never intended 
to marry her, at least at any near period. At that moment 
of discovery a higher and prouder nature than hers might 
have been moved to personal upbraiding, despair and perhaps 
to suicide : with Eleanor Hill the only result was that a sense 
of shame, before kept in abeyance, came in and settled down 
upon her, making her more humble than angry or indignant, 
and unnerving her instead of bracing her mind anew for any 
conflict that might arise in the future. Aware, at last, of his 
deception, she could not quite believe in her guardian's utter 
baseness; and she still hoped that though he might demand 
his own time for the fulfilment of that promise which had 
won her from herself, in his own time he would render her 



150 THE COWARD. 

that justice in reality so poor but to her so full of compensa- 
tion for all the past. 

"Would it not seem, even to one most fully acquainted with 
all the falsehood of the betrayer and all the cruelty of the 
torturer, that the cup of that man's infamy was nearly filled ? 
And yet — sorrow that the bitter truth must be recorded ! 
— not a tithe of that which was to curse him before the end, 
has yet been indicated. Slowly and surely the blackening 
crimes pile up, when the love of virtue and the fear of heaven 
have both faded out from the human heart ; and who can 
measure the height to which those mountain masses of guilt 
may tower, after the first foundations have been laid in one 
unrepented wrong, and before the coming of that day when 
the criminal must call upon those very mountains to fall and 
bury him away from the wrath that is inevitable 1 

Dr. Pomeroy came home late one evening in December, 
1858. Hester had long been in bed, and Eleanor, as was her 
habit, had waited up for his return. Some weeks had now 
elapsed since her discovery of his deception, but hope had 
not yet died out, nor had all her confidence been lost in that 
aftectiou for her which she believed underlay all the impro- 
priety of his treatment. So far, except in the one particular, 
he had treated her with almost unvarying kindness ; and 
while that pleasant status existed and hope had yet a little 
point for the clinging of her tenacious fingers, it w^as not in 
the nature of the young girl to despair. She met him at the 
door, as she had done on so many previous occasions, assisted 
him to divest himself of the rough wrappers by which he had 
been sheltered from the winter wind, and when at last he 
dropped into his cushioned chair before the grate, which had 
been kept broadly aglow to minister to his comfort, took her 
place half by his side and half at his feet. 

Perhaps there was some malevolent spirit who on that 
occasion, before the glow of the winter fire, once more brought 
to the lips of the poor girl that subject alwa3's lying so near 
her heart — marriage. She mentioned the word, and for the 



THE COWARD. 151 

first time since be had given her shelter under his roof, Philip 
romeroy hurled an oath at her. Perhaps he had been taking 
wine somewhat too freely, in one of the tempting supper- 
rooms of the city ; or some other cause may have disturbed 
his equanimity and brought out the truth of his worst nature. 
The reply of Eleanor Hill to this was the not unnatural one 
of a burst of tears, and that outburst may have maddened 
him still more. The truth came at last, in all its black, bitter, 
naked deformity : 

" Eleanor, you have made a fool of yourself long enough 1 
No more of this whining, or it will be the worse for you I 
When / marry ijou, I shall be very nearly out of business ; 
and if you have not had judgment enough to know that fact 
before, so much the worse for your common sense !" 

Eleanor Hill staggered up from her chair and cast one 
glance full into the face of her destroyer. Her eyes could 
read the expression that it bore, then, if they had never before 
attained the same power. There was neither the smile of 
reckless pleasantry nor the unbent lines of partial pity for 
suffering, upon that face. All was cold, hard, determined, 
cruel earnest, and the victim read at last aright what she 
should have been able to decipher more than two years before. 
And never the life of a dangerous infant heir went out be- 
neath the choking fingers of a hired murderer, at midnight 
and in silence in one of the thick vaulted chambers of the 
Tower, more suddenly or more effectually than at that 
moment the last honorable hope of Eleanor Hill expired, 
strangled by the hand of that '' guardian" who had promised 
beside a dying bed that he would shield and protect her as 
his own child I 

In that hard, cold face Eleanor Hill at last read her destiny. 
She had been weak, compliant and submissive, but never recon- 
ciled to her shame ; and at that moment began her revolt. 

"I understand you at last," she said. "After all your 
promises, you will not marry me !" 

*' Once for all— no !" was the firm reply, the cruel face not 



152 THE COWARD. 

blenching in the least before that glance, mingled of pain and 
indignation, and so steadily bent upon it. 

" Then I have lived long enough in this house — too long 1'* 
broke from the lips of the young girl. " I will leave it to- 
morrow. You cannot give me back the thing of most value 
of which you have robbed me — my honor and my peace of 
mind ; but my father left my property in your hands — give 
me back that, so that I may go away and hide myself where 
I shall never be any more trouble to you or to any others who 
know me." 

" Humph ! your property I" was the reply, in so sneering 
a tone that even the unsuspicious ears of the victim caught 
something more in the manner than in the words themselves. 

" Yes, I said my property — the property my father left in 
your hands for me !" answered poor Eleanor, striving to con- 
quer the deadly depression at her heart dnd to be calm and 
dignified. " You have told me the truth at last ; and I will 
never ask you the question again if you will give me enough 
money for my support and let me go away from this life of 
sin into which you have dragged me." 

"You want to go away, do you !" again spoke the doctor, 
in the same sneering tone. "And you expect to support 
yourself upon what you call ' your property ?' " 

"I do want to go away — I must go away, Dr. Philip !" 
answered the victim, still managing to choke down the tears 
and sobs that were rising so painfully. " You have cruelly 
deceived a poor girl who trusted you, and we had better 
never see each other again while we live." 

" Your property, you said I Bring me that large black port- 
folio from^the top of the closet yonder," was the only and 
strange reply. With the habit of her old obedience the 
young girl went to the place designated, found the pocket- 
book and brought it to him. He opened it, took out half a 
dozen pieces of what seemed to be bank-note paper, and 
Sanded them over to her without an additional word 



THE COWARD. 153 

" What are these, and what I am to do with them ?" she 
asked, in surprise. 

" They are ' your fortune' that you have been talking about, 
and you may do what you like with them if you insist upon 
leaving my house !" was the reply. 

" I do not understand you 1" very naturally answered the 
recipient, making no motion to open the papers. " If these 
are mine, I cannot tell what to do with them or how much 
they are worth." 

" Oh, I can tell you their value, very easily, though I migjht 
be puzzled to direct you as to the other part of your anxiety !" 
said the doctor, with a scarcely-suppressed chuckle at the 
bottom of his sneer. " They are the scrip for four thousand 
shares in the capital stock of the Dunderhaven Coal and 
Mining Company, in which, with your consent, I invested 
the forty thousand dollars left you by j^our father ; and their 
present worth is not much, as the company unfortunately 
failed about six months ago, paying a dividend of five-six- 
teenths of a centon the dollar. The amount would be — I re- 
member calculating it up at the time of the failure — -just one 
hundred and twenty-five dollars." 

"And that is all the money that I have in the world I'* 
gasped the young girl, tottering towards a chair. 

" Every penny, if you leave my house !" answered the 
model guardian. " If you remain in it, as I wish, and forget 
all the nonsense that priests and old women have dinned into 
your ears, about marriage, — your fortune is just as much as 
my own, for you shall find that there is nothing which I can 
afford to purchase for myself, that I will not just as freely 
purchase for you !" 

Eleanor Hill said not a w^ord in reply. She had sunk into 
a chair and covered her face with both her hands, through the 
delicate fingers of which streamed the bright tears, while her 
whole frame was shaken and racked by the violence of her 
mental torture. How utterly and completely desolate she 
was at that moment ! Refused the justice of marriage by 



154 THE COWARD. 

the man for whom she had perilled all, and bidden no longer 
even to hope for that justice — then coldly informed that if she 
left the house of her betrayer she went away to beggary, as all 
the fortune left her by her father had been squandered by im- 
prudence or dishonesty, — what additional blow could fall upon 
her, and what other and heavier bolt could there yet be stored 
for her in the clouds of wrath ? 



CHAPTER Tin. 



What followed the revelation of Betrayal — A gleam 
OF HoFE FOR Eleanor Hill — A relative from Califor- 
nia, A projected Voyage, and a Disappointment — One 
more Letter — The broken thread resumed — Carlton 
Brand's farewell, and a sudden Elopement. 

Eleanor Hill should of course have left the house of her 
guardian, that had proved such a valley of poison to her girl- 
hood, the very moment when she made that discovery of her 
final and complete betrayal. But then, strictly speaking, she 
should have left it long before ; and the same compliant spirit 
that had once yielded, could yield again. Pity her who will 
— blame her who may — she bowed beneath the weight of her 
own helplessness and remained, instead of fleeing from the 
spot that very night and shaking off the dust of her feet 
against it, even if she begged her bread thereafter from door 
to door. Not with what she should have done, and not with 
what some others whom we have known w^ould have done 
under the circumstances, have we to do. She remained. Not 
the same as she had been before — Dr. Philip Pomeroy knew 
and felt the difference ; and yet submissive and apparently 
unrepining. Not the same in cheerfulness, as Miss Hester 
felt and deplored ; she spoke less, seldomer went out, even when 



THE COWARD. 155 

Strongly tempted, and spent much more time in the solitude 
and silence of her own room. 

It is not for us to put upon record precisely what passed 
between the guardian and his ward in the months that imme- 
diately followed that revelation ; as unfortunately at that 
point information otherwise complete and uninterrupted, is* 
defective for a considerable interval. It is beyond doubt that 
in the breast of Eleanor Hill fear and hatred had taken the 
place of love towards the man whom she had once idolized — 
that the sense of shame weighing upon her had become everv 
day heavier and less endurable — and that she would have fled 
away at any moment, but from the fact that she was utterly 
helpless, pecuniarily and in any capacity for earning her own 
subsistence, and that she belieV^ed in the probability of Dr. 
Philip Pomeroy putting in force the cruel threat he had made, 
and publishing her shame to the world, distorted to suit his 
own purposes, the moment she should have quitted his abode 
and his guardianly "protection !" 

With reference to the wishes and intentions of Dr. Philip 
Pomeroy himself, it is not much more easy to form any accu- 
rate calculation. That he did not wish to follow the example 
set him by so many unscrupulous traffickers in female virtue, 
and drive awa}^ at once from his presence the woman whose 
life he had poisoned, is onl}^ too certain. That he had no in- 
tention of making her legally his own by marriage, his own 
tongue had declared. It only remains to believe that he held 
towards the poor girl some sort of tiger mixture of love and 
hate, which would not consent to make her happy in the oulv 
manner which could secure that end, and which yet would 
not consent to part with her at any demand or upon any ^ 
terms. Other than she was, to him, she could not be : as she 
was, she seemed to minister to some unholy but actual need 
of his nature ; and he held her to himself with an evil tenacity 
which really seemed to afford a new study in psychology. 
Circumstances were close at hand, calculated to show some- 
thing of the completeness of the net drawn around the feet 



156 THE COWARD. 

of the young girl, even if they did not clearly point out the 
hand drawing the cord of continued restraint. 

Miss Hester Pomeroy died suddenly in the winter of 1860, 
alike guiltless and ignorant of the evil which had taken place 
under the roof which owned her as its mistress, regretted by 
her brother with as much earnest feeling as he had the capa- 
city of bestowing upon so undemonstrative a relation, and 
sincerely mourned by the forced dweller beneath that roof, to 
whom her presence had been a protection in the eyes of the 
world, and to whose cruel lot she had furnished more allevia- 
tions than she had herself capacity to understand. 

With this death, the introduction of a mere housekeeper 
to take the place which she had so worthily filled, the addi- 
tional loneliness which was inevitable when a hired stranger 
occupied her room, and the certainty that the last excuse of 
propriety for her remaining was removed, — it may be sup- 
posed that the struggle in the mind of the poor girl began 
anew, and raged with redoubled violence. The desire to be 
freed from the presence and the power of her destroyer had 
by that time grown to be an absorbing thought, ever present 
with her, and worthy of any possible sacrifice to give it 
reality. Any possible sacrifice : to poor Eleanor Hill, sacri- 
fices which many others would have embraced without a mo- 
ment's hesitation, seemed literal madness. The certainty of 
penury and the probability of open shame pressed her close ; 
and she could not shake off the double fetter. Her tyrant 
would give her no release ; and she succumbed to her living 
death once more. 

Months longer of weary waiting for deliverance, every 
spark of love died out from her heart, and yet soul and body 
alike enslaved. Oh, God of all the suffering ! — how often has 
this been, with no visible hand to deliver, with no pen to 
chronicle ! Months, and then came what seemed the oppor- 
tunity of the poor girl's life. 

It will be remembered that Xicholas Hill, at his dying 
hour, spoke of his only relatives, and even those removed by 



THE COWARD. 157 

geveral degrees, residing on the Pacific coast. One of these, 
William Barnes, a distant cousin, and a man of forty, who 
owned a comfortable ranch near Sacramento, came on to the 
East in the summer of 1861, bringing his wife, and in one of 
his visits to Philadelphia casually heard of the whereabouts 
of the orphaned daughter of his relative. Within a day or 
two following he pursued his information by driving out to 
the Schuylkill and calling upon Eleanor, in the absence of the 
doctor as it chanced. Half an hour's conversation satisfied 
the large-hearted Californian that the young girl was unhappy, 
from whatever cause ; ten minutes more drew from her the 
information that all the property left her by her father had 
melted away in unfortunate speculations, though of course 
they won no w^ay towards the other and more terrible secret ; 
and the next ten minutes sufficed him to offer her a home, as 
a relative and companion to his wife, at his pleasant ranch 
in the Golden State. Girls were scarce in California, he said ; 
girls as handsome as Eleanor were scarce in any quarter of 
the globe ; and if she would accept his invitation they would 
astonish all his neighbors a little, on their arrival out, while 
she could select at will among fifty stalwart fellows, with 
plenty of money, any day when she might fancy a husband. 

Here was hope — here was deliverance. How eagerly 
Eleanor Hill grasped at it can only be known by the wretch 
who has once been so nearly drowned that the last gasp was 
on his lip, and then found a helping hand stretched out for 
his rescue — or that other wretch w^ho has wandered for hours 
over a trackless waste and then found a landmark at the 
moment when he was ready to lie down and die I William 
Barnes was to leave New York on his return to California 
within a fortnight : he would inform his wife of the arrange- 
ment, and she would be delighted with the thought of finding 
a companion; and on the morning of the sailing of the 
steamer Eleanor would appear, to fill the state-room already 
engaged. 

Somewhat to the surprise of the escaping prisoner, and 



158 THECOWARD. 

immeasurably to her joy, when tliat evening, with an expres- 
sion on her lip that was nearer to triumph than any which 
had rested there during all the four years of her sinful 
slavery — Dr. Philip Pomeroy neither threatened her Avith 
poverty nor expo?^ure as he had before done (perhaps because 
he felt that when under Mr. Barnes' protection the former 
would be beyond his power and the latter of little conse- 
quence in a State so far removed as California) nor even 
seriously opposed her accepting the offer made her. At last, 
then, the cruel heart had relented, her shameful dependence 
was at an end, and the reformation of her life could find its 
late beginning. 

Three days later came a letter from New York, from 
William Barnes, reiterating what had been said personally, 
and accompanied by the indorsement of the arrangement by 
Mrs. Barnes. The last shadow of doubt, then, was removed 
out of the way, and the young girl's moderate preparations 
for removal went on with new vigor. One hundred dollars 
in money was all that she asked of her guardian for these 
preparations, and that sum was accorded without hesitation 
or comment. On the morning of the sailing of the steamer 
she left Philadelphia by the early train, the doctor himself 
bringing her down to the depot in his carriage, and bidding 
her good-bye with a word of kind regret, and a kiss which 
seemed chaste enough for that of a brother. Her small array 
of baggage had preceded her, and was no doubt already 
within the hold of the vessel that was to bear her to the 
Pacific, to a renewed life, and an opportunity of gathering up 
the broken threads of lost happiness. 

The steamer, the old Northern Light, of such varying for- 
tunes, w^as to sail at two. At half-past twelve, the carriage 
containing Eleanor Hill dashed down to the foot of Warren 
Street, among all that crush of carriages, baggage-wagons, 
foot-people with valises and carpet-bags, idlers, policemen, 
pickpockets. United States Mail - vans, weeping women, 
"whining children, and insatiate shakers of human hands, that 



THE COWARD. lo9 

has attended the departure of every California steamer since 
the first ploiiglied her ocean way towards the land of gold. 
Mr. Barnes had promised to meet her at the gangway or on 
shipboard, but neither on the dock nor on dock could she dis- 
cover him. One o'clock was long past, and Eleanor had 
grown sick at heart under the idea that some mistake as to 
the steamer must have been made, when from the gangway 
fche saw a carriage drive up and her new protector alight 
from it. He was assisting out a lad}^ who could be no other 
than his w^ife ; and the young girl, fairly overjoyed, ran down 
the plank to meet and welcome them. The lady, who was 
just starting up the plank as Eleanor reached the foot of it, 
did not notice her, but continued her ascent : William Barnes 
did see her, and allowing his wife to proceed alone, he seized 
her arm and drew her hurriedly away down the pier, and 
beyond ear-shot. Eleanor noticed that his face seemed 
flushed, and his whole demeanor agitated ; but she w^as far 
from being prepared for the startling intelligence that burst 
from his lips, interlarded with oaths and expressions of 
honest indignation. The generous-hearted Californian was, 
in truth, very nearly beside himself with shame and mortifi- 
cation. Eleanor could not accompany his wife and himself 
to California, after all ! And the story of the disappointment, 
though a little mixed up with those energetic expressions 
and once interrupted by the necessity of the enraged man's 
pausing to throw into the dock a package of fruit which his 
wife had just been purchasing for her comfort on the voyage 
(the porter who brought it being very nearly included in that 
sacrifice to Xeptune), the story, in spite of all these hindrances, 
was far too quickly told ; and every word, after the first 
which revealed her fate, fell upon the heart of the poor girl 
as if it had been the blow of a hammer smiting her living 
flesh. 

Up to that morning — the Californian said — his wife had 
seemed not only willing to accept Eleanor's society, but 
highly pleased at the prospect. Her ticket had been bought 



160 THE COWARD. 

and various presents selected by Mrs. Barnes' own hands, for 

the comfort of their guest on the route and in her new home. 
That morning, and not more than two hours before, the 
weather in the matrimonial horizon, never entirely reliable in 
the latitude of Mrs. Barnes, had changed entirely. On com- 
ing into the hotel from some business calls, among them a 
visit to the Post Office (though Mr. Barnes thought, very 
naturally, that the latter place could have nothing to do with 
the sudden barometric variation) — she had suddenly declared 
to him that "he might as well go down to the office and 
countermand the order for Miss Hill's ticket and save the 
money; as if she [Miss Hill] went to California with him on 
the steamer that day, she [Mrs. Barnes] would not stir one 
step but stay in Xew York." Inquiry and even demand 
bad failed to secure any explanation of this strange and sud- 
den veering of the marital weathercock ; and expostulation 
and even entreaty, with full representations of the contempti- 
ble position in which he would be placed by any change in 
the arrangements at that hour, had failed to secure any modi- 
fication of the sentence. She wanted no strangers in her 
house, or in her company on board ship ; and she would not 
have any — that was flat ! If Eleanor Hill went to California, 
she remained ! A full-blown domestic quarrel, lasting with 
different degrees of gusty violence for nearly an hour, had 
been the result ; and that other result had followed which 
nearly always follows when husband and wife commence dis- 
cussion of any matter seriously affecting the feelings (or whims) 
of the latter — the husband had succumbed, the arrangement 
had been definitely broken off, and the state-room which the 
young girl was to have occupied was no doubt by that time 
in the occupancy of a man with a red beard, long boots, a 
broad hat and a gray blanket ! 

Poor Eleanor Hill ! — it seemed too hard, indeed — this be- 
ing plunged back again into the pit of helpless sin and self* 
reproach, at every effort made for extrication ! 

There is a legend told of the great well in the court-yard 



THE COWARD. IGl 

of one of the old English castles, at the period of the Parlia- 
mentary wars, which comes into mind when the cruel facts 
of her life are rememtjered. Sir Hugh, the Cavalier, had seen 
bis castle surprised, taken and sacked by the Cromwcliiau 
troopers, guided and led on by a roundhead churl who owed 
him gratitude instead of ill-service — had been wounded and 
made prisoner, while the females of his family were maltreated 
and the pictures that made half his ancestral pride stabbed 
and hacked in pieces by the ruffians who could not enough 
outrage the living members of his race. Then the tide of 
fortune had turned ; he had once more regained his strong- 
hold, with manly arms around him, and those of his dear ones 
who had not perished by outrage and exposure, once more 
under his sheltering hand. Then the recreant roundhead 
neighbor fell one day into his hands, and the cruel blood of 
the Norman ancestors who had begun their robbery and 
rapine on English soil at Hastings, rose up in the breast of 
Sir Hugh and made him for the time a very fiend of revenge. 
The great well had been ruined by the corpses thrown into it 
at the sacking of the castle ; and into that well, in spite of his 
struggles, he had the poor wretch lowered by bis retainers^ 
then the slight rope cut away and the victim left to cling to 
the slippery stones at the edge of the water thirty feet below, 
unable to climb them, too desperate to sink, and wailing out 
his cries for merc\^, while a huge lamp, lowered by another 
rope, showed the whole terrible spectacle to the pitiless eye** 
that dared look down upon it. Then another rope was 
lowered by the great windlass, within reach of the struggling 
wretch, and he was allowed to seize hold upon it and climb a 
little way from the water, under the belief that his tyrant had 
at last relented and that he was to be allowed to save him- 
self after that dreadful trial. Then, when he had climbed for 
a few feet from the black ooze beneath him, the rope wo* 
lowered away and the poor wretch again submerged, to 
shriek, and wail, and climb again, and to be again dropped 
back at the moment of transient hope, until the wearied 
10 



162 THE COW A 11 Li . 

fingers could cling aad climb no longer and tlio life Ibus out- 
raged and the light which had revealed that sad refinement 
upon cruelty went horribly out together ! And how much 
less cruel was Fate, thus standing guard over the life of 
Eleanor Hill and dropping her back again into her own shame 
at every attempt which she made to escape from it or to rise 
above it, — than the grim and grizzled old Sir Hugh who had 
been made a human fiend by his past wrongs and the bandit 
blood of his race ? 

There was genuine regret blended with the anger and 
shame on the honest face of William Barnes, as he made that 
confession which dashed all the hopes of the young girl, — that 
he dared not take her to California. But who shall describe 
the expression of hopeless sorrow and despondency which 
dwelt upon hers at that moment ? Yet despondency was 
unwise as struggle was unavailing. This, too, must be borne, 
as a part of the penalty of — no, we cannot write the word 
" guilt" — the penalty of being unfortunate and abused ! The 
Californian took the privilege of blood, to urge the acceptance 
of such a sum from his well-filled wallet as would enable her 
to replace the clothing and other articles in her trunks, then 
too late to remove from the hold of the vessel, — bade her 
good-bye and sprung on board just as the last call was given. 
The poor outcast mustered courage to speak to a hackman as 
the steamer moved away that she had so lately hoped was to 
bear her to a more hospitable land and a better life ; and half 
an hour later she was speeding back towards Philadelphia on 
the Camden and Amboy boat ; with strange thoughts running 
through her mind but happily finding no lodgment there, 
that under some circumstances of desertion and despair 
there could not be such a terrible crime in slipping quietly 
overboard and going to a dreamless sleep in the cool, placid 
water. 

Had Eleanor Hill possessed that energy the want of which 
Las been so many times before deplored, she would have 
sought out another home, though in the most miserable alley 



THE COWAKD. 163 

of the overcrowded city, before relurniug yet more disgraced 
to that place of misery once abandoned. But she lacked that 
energy, and perhaps her coming life was foredoomed, as the 
past had been. That night the bars of her cage closed again 
upon her. Dr. Philip Pomeroy receiv^ed her in all kindness, 
with some expressions of pleased surprise and a few sharp 
epithets hurled at the man who could be weak enough to 
change his mind in that manner at the bidding of a woman. 
But there was something in his tone and demeanor which 
left the girl in doubt whether he was really so much surprised 
as he pretended ; and later developments were rapidly 
approaching which made the doubt more tenable. 

Among the acquaintances formed by Eleanor Hill in the 
early days of her residence under the roof of Dr. Pomeroy, 
bad been the family of Robert Brand, which the doctor visited 
(as he did many others in the neighborhood) both as friend 
and medical attendant. In those days she had been visited 
by Elsie Brand and her brother, and had visited them in re- 
turn. Gradually all intimacy between Elsie and herself had 
ceased, as that great change, known only to herself and two 
others, affected the whole tenor of her life. But the friend- 
ship at that time formed with Carlton Brand had never weak- 
ened, and it perhaps grew the stronger from the hour when 
each became satisiied that no warmer personal interest would 
ever rise in the breast of the other. Perhaps Carlton Brand, 
to some extent a man of the world, and a close student of 
character by virtue of his profession, may have formed his 
opinions, long before 1861, of the relations existing: between 
the doctor and his ward ; but if so, he had not a thought of 
blame or any depreciation of respect for the poor girl on 
account of it; and during all those years, if he indeed 
harbored such suspicions, he had no means of verifying them, 
for Eleanor IlilPs lips had been and remained quite as closely 
sealed to him as to others. 

Between Dr. Philip Pomeroy and the lawyer had always 
existed, since the young girl had been an inmate of tlie house, 



164: THE COWAKD. 

an antagonism which could not well be mistaken. Xo open 
rupture bad taken place, in the knowledge of any acquaint- 
ance of either ; but they never met without exchanging looks 
which told of mutual dislike and distrust. "Within the three 
years between 1858 and 1861 that antagonism, as even the un-» 
observant girl could see, had markedly increased, so that even in 
his own house the doctor, when he came upon him, seldom ad- 
dressed a word to his unwelcome guest. Had she known that 
in the investigations which followed the failure of the Dunder- 
haven Coal and Mining Company, in the later days of the great 
commercial crash of 185T-8, Carlton Brand had been one of 
the counsel employed to prosecute that great swindle in which 
her own fortune had been swallowed up with hundreds of 
others, — had she known this, we say, she might have imagined 
some reason for this increase of dislike which was certainly 
not founded upon jealousy. But she would not have guessed, 
even then, one tithe of the causes for deadly and life-long 
hatred which lay between tw^o men of corresponding eminence 
in two equally liberal professions. It is not possible, at this 
stage of the narration, to explain what were those causes, 
eventually so certain to develop themselves. 

On the eve of her attempted transit to California, of which 
we have already seen the melancholy failure, Eleanor Hill 
wrote but one letter of farewell, and that letter was addressed 
to Carlton Brand. On her way homeward from her great 
disappointment, she paused in the city to drop a- pencil note 
written on board the steamboat ; and that was also to Carlton 
Brand, informing him of her return. [N'o reply was made to 
the latter note, for three days : then the lawyer called upon 
her one day during the professional absence of the doctor. 
He had been absent, at the city of New York and still farther 
eastward, for more than a week previous. He had returned 
from the commercial metropolis only the day before, and had 
taken the very earliest moment to acknowledge the reception 
of her missive and to express his sympathy in her disappoint- 
ment — perhaps something more. 



THE COWARD. 165 

After a few moments of conversation on that unfortunate 
affair, the lawyer remarked that he had chanced to stop at the 
same hotel in New York, patronized by Mr. Barnes and his 
wife, and having some recollection of the face of the former, 
from old Philadelphia rencontres, had made the acquaintance 
of both. He had known nothing whatever of the intention 
of Eleanor to accompany them to the Pacific coast, or even 
that any relationship existed between herself and William 
Barnes. But Mrs. Barnes had " cottoned to him" a little, ap- 
parently, he had been the possessor of a few spare hours, and 
he had become her companion and escort on some of her shop- 
ping excursions when Mr. Barnes was otherwise employed. 
He had been her escort on the morning of the day on which 
she sailed, and after her return from the Post-office had been 
present at her opening of several letters, over one of which 
she fell into a storm of rage requiring an apology for such an 
exposure before a comparative stranger. As a part of that 
apology, she had handed him the letter, bearing the Phila- 
delphia post-mark; and inadvertently, as he then supposed, 
but providentially, as he afterwards saw reason to believe, he 
had kept the letter in his hands, dropped it into his pocket 
with his newspaper, and forgotten to return it until he had 
parted from the enraged woman and left the hotel. It was 
only after his return to Philadelphia and reception of the two 
notes advising him of Eleanor's intended departure and her 
disappointment, that he had been able to connect that letter 
with any one in whom he possessed a personal interest. 

Eleanor Hill had been gradually growing paler during this 
recital ; and she was chalky white and almost ready to faint, 
when at that stage the lawyer paused and handed her a letter 
taken from his pocket, with the inquiry, "if she knew that 
handwriting." The letter was very brief, but very expres- 
sive, and ran as follows — the words being faithfully copied 
from the shameful original, lying at the writer's hand at this 
moment : 



166 THE CO WARD. 

PniLADELPniA, , 1861. 

Madam:— I have accidentally learned that arrangements have 
been made hy your husband and yourself, to take a young lady back 
with you to your hoiae in California, on your return. When I tell 
you that I knew your husband and his family many years ago, you 
will understand my motive for taking part in what is apparently 
none of my business. If the report is true, that you do so intend, 
you have been shamefully deceived and imposed upon. The young 
lady, whose name I need not mention, has been for years the mis- 
tress of the man with whom she is living; and you can judge for 
yourself the policy of introducing such a person into your house- 
hold. I have no means of judging whether your husband is or is 
not acquainted with the real character of the lady ; but any doubt 
on that subject you can have no difficulty in solving for yourself. 
I have preferred to address you instead of him, with this warning, 
because in the event of his really being aware of all the circum- 
stances, any oommunicatiou to him would of course never have 
reached your eyes. With the highest esteem and regard for your- 
self, for your husband and his family, I am (only concealing my 
real name, for the present, from motives which I hope you will 
readily appreciate,) yours, obediently, D. T. M. 

**My God! — yes, I know that handwriting!" sobbed 
Eleanor Hill, covering her eves with both hands, after glancing 
over the precious epistle. 

" So I feared !" said Carlton Brand. 

" Oh, how can any man be so cruel !'' continued the poor 
girl. 

" How could he dare to utter such a falsehood ?" said the 
lawyer, glancing closely at the young girl meanwhile. Her 
face, that had the moment before been pale, was now one 
flush of crimson, and it seemed as if the very veins would 
burst with the pressure of shamed and indignant blood. 
Carlton Brand saw, and if he had before doubted, he doubted 
no longer. He spoke not another word. But the instant 
after, at last goaded beyond all endurance, Eleanor Hill started 
to her feet, and said : 

" Carlton Brand, I believe that I have but one friend in the 
world, and you are that friend. I have tried to keep my 



THE COWARD. 1C7 

shame from you, because I could not bear to forfeit your good 
opinion. You know all, now, but do not believe me guilty 
and wicked ! That man—" 

" I do not believe you guilty, Eleanor, whatever may be 
the errors into which you have been dragged by that worst 
devil out of torment !" he interrupted her. 

" Expose that man to the world, then, or kill him ! Do 
not let my shame stand in the way ! I can bear any thing, 
to see him punished as he deserves, for this last cruel deed !" 
The girl was for the moment beside herself, and she little 
thought, just then, what was the penalty she braved ! It 
seemed that Carlton Brand better appreciated the peril, or 
that some other weighty consideration chained his limbs and 
his spirit, for his was now the flushed face, and he made none 
of those physical movements which the avenger inevitably 
assumes, even if beneath no other eye than God's, when he 
determines upon a course of action involving exposure and 
possible danger. He seemed to tremble, but not with anxiety : 
his was rather the quiver of inertiae than any nobler incitement. 

"Expose him?— kill him?" he gasped rather than said. 
"You do not know what you ask, Eleanor ! I cannot ! — dare 
not—" 

''Dare not ?" echoed Eleanor Hill, her face that had ordi- 
narily so little pride or courage in it, now expressing wonder 
not unmingled with contempt. Eor the first time, she saw the 
countenance of that man who had seemed to her almost a 
demi-god, convulsed with pain and shame ; and the sad won- 
der that was almost pity grew in her eyes, as within a moment 
after, moved by her confidence and assured by it that he need 
fear no danger of betrayal, Carlton Brand entrusted her with 
the secret of that skeleton in his mental closet which made 
him powerless against the bold, unscrupulous and determined 
Philip Pomeroy. Each had the most dangerous confidence 
of the other, then ; and each realized, if nothing more, a cer- 
tain painful satisfaction in knowing that the burthen was not 
thenceforth to be borne entirely without sympathy. But to 



168 THE COWARD. 

neither did there appear any hope of unravelling a villany which 
seemed to both so monstrous. 

All this took place in the summer oF 1861, it will be re- 
membered ; and between that time and the period at which 
we have seen Eleanor Hill kneeling piteously before Nathan 
Bladesden and afterwards greeting Carlton Brand with surh 
a sympathy of shame and sorrow, — nearly two years had 
tlapsed. During that time Carlton Brand had seemed to 
gather more and more dislike of the physician, and, as must 
be confessed, more and more positive fear of him ; while Dr. 
Pomeroy had more than once treated poor Eleanor with 
positive bodil}' indignity for daring to receive his- visits at 
all, though he was the last of all her old acquaintances who 
kept up the least pretence at iutimac}'. Finally, for months 
before the June of 1863, the lawyer had ceased to make any 
visits to the house, except at times when he knew the doctor 
to be absent ; and then he stayed but briefly at each infre- 
quent call, while one of the female servants, who was devoted 
to Eleanor, had confidential orders from her to keep watch for 
the sudden coming of the doctor, so that this man, who seemed 
born to be a Paladin, could skulk away by one door or the 
other and avoid a meeting ! A most pitiable exhibition, 
truly ! — but the record must be made a faithful one, even in 
this melancholy instance. 

Since Eleanor Hill's return from her temporary Hegira, for 
a long period, so far as the eye could see no change had taken 
place in the relations existing between the *' guardian" and 
his "ward." Perhaps he treated her with more coolness 
than of old ; and she may have been more habitually silent, 
while she had become a virtual recluse and seldom passed 
j^eyond the doors of that fated dwelling. Whatever the 
weakness which the fact may have shown on her part, what- 
ever of persistent evil on his, — the old intimacy of crime had 
been maintained, though the love once existing in the breast 
of the young girl had long changed to loathing, and there 



TILK COWAKD. 169 

was every reason to believe that the ignoblcr passion urging 
on her destroyer had'quite as long before become satiety. 

This up to a certain period. One day during the winter of 
1862, ISTathan Bladesden, a Quaker merchant of the city, gray- 
headed, eminently respectable and a widower, had found oc- 
casion to call at the residence of Dr. Pomeroy. In the host's 
absence he had been received by his ward ; and the blind 
god, ever fantastic in his dealings, had smitten the calm, 
strong man with a feeling not to be overcome. He had 
called again and again, sometimes in the doctor's absence and 
sometimes when he was at home ; out the object of his pur- 
suit had evidently been Eleanor Hill. His visits had seemed 
to be rather pleasing than otherwise to the master of the 
house, who could not fail to see towards what they tended ; 
and that he did see and approve had seemed to be evident 
from his entire withdrawal of himself from Eleanor's private 
society, from the time of the second visit. The poor girl's 
heart had leaped with joy, at the possibility of union with a 
noble man, that should finally remove her from her false 
position and make her past life only a sad remembrance ; 
and tliose precisians may blame her who will, while all must 
sorrow for the circumstances which seemed to render the de- 
ception necessary, — that she had not shuddered, as she possi- 
bly should have done, at the idea of marriage without full 
confidence. Two months before, while April was laughing 
and weeping over the earth, the grave, unimpeachable man, 
who already held so much of her respect and could so easily 
induce a much warmer feeling of her nature, — had asked her 
to be his honored wife and the mistress of his handsome house 
in the city ; and the harrassed girl, the goal of a life of peace 
once more in sight, had answered him that she would be his 
wife at any moment if he would consent to accept the 
remnant of a heart which had been cruelly tortured and to 
make no inquiries as to a past which must ever remain 
buried. To these terms the Quaker had consented ; this had 
been Eleanor Hill's betrothal ; and with such a redeeming 



170 THE COWARD. 

prospect in view had her life remained, until that fatal day 
of June when the knowledge that her whole secret was be- 
trayed burst upon her in the presence and the reproaches of 
Kathan Bladesden. What passed between them has already- 
been recorded, at a stage of this narration antecedent to the 
long but necessary resume just concluded ; and we have seen 
how, only a few minutes after, Carlton Brand held in his hand 
the letter of her second denunciation, and what were his brief 
but burning words as he commenced reading. 

" Curse him I He deserves eternal perdition, and he will 
find it!" 

He read through the letter without speaking another word, 
though there were occasional convulsive twitches of his face 
which showed how his heart was stirred to indignation by 
the perusal. 

"You are sure, are you not?" Eleanor asked, when he 
had finished. 

" Just as sure as I was in the other case. The deed is the 
most black and damning that I have ever known ; and if I 
had before been an infidel I should be converted by the 
knowledge that such an incarnate scoundrel must roast in 
torment !" 

"And what am I to do ?" asked the girl, with that help- 
less and irresolute air which is so pitiable. 

" Heaven help us both ! I do not know I" was the reply, 
with the proud head drooping lower on the breast than it 
should ever have been bowed by any feeling except devotion. 

" I cannot remain here after this !" she said. " Can you not 
take me away — do something for me ? Does the — do the 
same obstacles stand in your way that stood there two years 
ago ?" 

" No — ^not the same, but worse !" answered the lawyer, 
bitterly. " Oh, there never was a child so helpless as I am 
at this moment. I have wealth, but I cannot use it for your 
benefit without exposing you to final and complete ruin in 
public opinion. And for myself — poor Eleanor, I pity you, 



T U K COW A U 1). 171 

God knows I do, but I pity myself still worse. I came to 
tell you that I am going away this very day, — that I shall 
not again set foot within my father's house — perhaps never 
again while I live, — that my spirit is crushed and my heart 
broken." 

" What has happened ? tell me ! The old trouble, Carl- 
ton ?'' asked the young girl, in a tone of true commisera- 
tion. 

"Yes, the old trouble, and worse!" was the reply, fol- 
lowed by a rapid relation of the events of the morning, and 
concluding with these hopeless words: "An hour since, I 
parted with the woman I loved and hoped to make my own. 
To-morrow my name may be a scoff and a by-word in the 
mouth of every man who knows me. I cannot and will not 
meet this shame, which is not hidden like your own, but will 
be blown abroad by the breath of thousands of personal 
acquaintances, and perhaps made the subject of jest in the 
public newspapers. Think how those who have hated and 
perhaps feared me — criminals whom I have brought to justice 
and thieves whom I have foiled in their plunderings, — will 
gloat over the knowledge that I can trouble them no more — • 
that I have fallen lower, in the public eye, than they have 
ever been ! X am going away, where no man who has ever 
looked upon my face and known it, can look upon it again !" 

The tone in which Carlton Brand spoke was one of utter 
despondency and abandonment. There was nothing of the 
sharp, vigorous ring of that speech which contains and de- 
clares a purpose : the words fell stolid and lifeless as hung 
the head and drooped the arms of the utterer in her presence 
with whom he held a sad community of disgrace. 

"I understand you, and I believe that your lot is even 
worse than my own !" said Eleanor Hill, after & moment of 
silence. "You do right in going away, and you could not 
help me if you stayed. Nothing can help me, I suppose. 
Do not think of me any more. I can bear what is to come, 
quite as well as I have borne all that is past !" She bad 



172 THE COWARD. 

been nodding her head mechanically when she commenced 
speaking, and at every nod it sank lower and lower until the 
face was hidden from the one friend whom she was thus 
losing beyond recall. 

At that moment there was a rapid foot on the stair-way 
above, and the house servant whom Eleanor had managed to 
keep in her interest spoke quickly at the door. 

" If you please, Miss, doctor's carriage is coming through 
the gate from the Darby road. Thought you would like to 
know it." And as rapidly as she had come down, she as- 
cended again to her employment in the attic. 

*' Oh, Carlton, you must not be seen here, now !" ex- 
claimed the poor girl, her face all fright and anxiety, and 
herself apparently forgotten. Something in that look and 
tone smote the heart of Carlton Brand more deeply than it 
had ever been smitten by the sorrow and disgrace of his own 
situation ; and with that feeling of intense compassion a new 
thought was born within him. " Yesterday I could not have 
done it — to-day I can !" he muttered, so low that the girl 
could not understand his words ; then he said aloud, and 
speaking very rapidly : 

" I cannot meet him, and you shall not ! Throw some- 
thing on your head and over your shoulders, quick ; and 
come with me I" 

For one instant the young girl gazed into his face as if 
in doubt and hesitation ; but the repetition of a single word 
decided her : 

" Quick !" 

A glow of delight and surprise that had long been a stranger 
to her face, broke over it; she ran to the little bed-room 
adjoining the apartment in which they were speaking, threw 
on a black-silken mantle and a sober little hat that hung 
there, and was ready in an instant. In another Carlton 
Brand had seized her arm, hurried her out of the room, down 
the stairs, through the hall and out into the garden which 
lay at the north side of the house and extended down almost 



THE COWARD. 173 

to the edge of the causeway. Dr. Pomeroy was driving 
down the lane leading from the Darby road, and was conse- 
quently on the opposite side of the house from the fugitives. 
Fugitives they may well have been called, though perhaps 
so strange an "^elopement had never before been planned— an 
elopement over a comparatively open country in the broad 
light of a summer noon, by two persons who held no tie of 
bfood and no warmer feeling for each other than friendship, 
and who had not dreamed of such an act even five minutes 

before. 

But those operations the most suddenly conceived are not 
always the worst executed. Necessity, if not genius, is often 
a successful imitator of that quality. When the doctor 
drove up at the gate in front of the house, his ''ward" and 
her new companion were just dodging out of the tall bean- 
poles and shrubbery, over the garden fence, to the edge of 
the meadow ; by the time he had fairly entered the house 
they were on the causeway and partially sheltered by the 
elders that ran along it and fringed the bank of the singing 
brook ; and long before he could have discovered the flight 
and made such inquiries of the servants as might have di- 
rected his gaze in that direction, the lawyer in his strangely 
soiled and unaccustomed attire, and the girl so slightly 
arrayed for starting out on her travels in the w-orld, were 
within the circle of woods before mentioned, stretching 
northward to the great road leading down to the city. 



174 THE COWARD. 

CHArTER IX. 

Dr. Pomerot's purposed Pursuit — A plain Quaker "who 
used very plain language — almost a fight — how 
Mrs. Burton Hayley consoled her Daughter, and how 
Margaret revealed the Past — A Compact — Dr. Pome- 
roy's Canine Adventure — Old Elspeth once more — 
A Search that found Nothing. 

It will be noticed that with the exception of the somewhat 
extended glance at the earlier fortunes of Eleanor Hill, all 
the occurrences thus far recorded, and affecting the after 
lives of so many different people, have occupied not more 
than two or three hours of a single June day. The Parcae 
were evidently very busy on that day of June, repaying the 
past and arranging the future ; and not less than three 
scenes of this veritable history yet remain, occurring on the 
same day, a little later, but within the same space as to dis- 
tance, that has been covered by those preceding. 

The first of these is that presented in the house of Dr. 
Pomeroy, ten minutes after he had entered it, and when two 
or three sharp inquiries after his "ward," whom he failed to 
find in her room, had elicited from one of the frightened ser- 
vants the information not only that she had left the house, 
through the garden, with hat and mantle and in great haste, — 
but in the company of the man of all the world towards whom 
the medical gentleman entertained that deadliest hatred which 
would have made his drugs safe and reliable had he been attend- 
ing him in a dangerous sickness ! He might not have known 
the fact quite so soon, from any of the other servants, as he 
certainly would not have discovered the truth under a twelve- 
month from the one who had acted as Eleanor's sentinel oa 
the watch tower ; but it chanced that he possessed one crea- 
ture of his own, who had been in the habit of playing spy 
around the house generally and making very considerable 



T UK C U W A li D. 175 

additions to her wages from the " appropriation for secret 
service"; and from that open-mouthed person, who seemed 
to see with that organ as well as with the eye^s, he had no 
difticulty in extracting all the truth that could be known, in 
an inconceivably minute fraction of time. 

The rage which broke out in the face of Dr. Philip Pome- 
roy and set his eyes ablaze, at about that period, would not 
have been a pleasant thing to look upon, for any person liable 
to the penalties and inflictions which that rage denoted. Eor 
he was a sharp, keen, calculating man, jumping to a conclu- 
sion with great rapidity, and seldomer missing the fact than 
most men under corresponding circumstances. Eleanor Hill 
was gone — had left his house forever, so far as her own will 
had an}^ power : he knew the fact intuitively. She would 
never have dared to cross the threshold with Carlton Brand, 
knowing the hatred which he held against that man of all 
others, if she had intended to place herself again in a position 
where she could feel his displeasure. Then the doctor knew, 
as the reader may by this time be inclined to suspect, reasons 
w^hy the young girl w^ould have been much more likely to 
leave his house forever, that day, than at any previous time 
of her sojourn, if aid and protection chanced to offer them- 
selves. They had offered themselves, in the shape of the 
lawyer : they had been embraced ; and the good physician, 
hurling a few outward curses at the servant who had afforded 
him the intelligence, at all the other servants, at the house 
and every thing within it, — mentally included in his maledic- 
tion every patient who had assisted in luring him away from 
his home that day, while such a spoil was being made of his 
*' domestic happiness." 

The worst of the affair— and the doctor saw it — was that 
Eleanor Hill had attained her majority years before, and that 
he had no power whatever to compel her return, except that 
power still existed in the impending threat of public shame. 
But he was wronged — robbed — outraged ! He would pursue 
the fugitive — fmd her — force her to abandon her new pro- 



176 THE COWARD. 

tection — drag her by main force from any arm that dared to 
interpose I If he failed, he would make such a general deso- 
lation in family peace, in the quiet neighborhood lying beyond 
that side the Schuylkill, as had never been known within the 
memory of the " oldest inhabitant" — such an expose, convul- 
sion and general explosion as would put out of countenance 
any thing in the power of the advancing rebel Lee ! 

All this in the two minutes following the knowledge of 
Eleanor's flight. The ostler had just led round his heated 
horse to the stable, before the discovery ; and that functionary 
had orders shot at him from the back piazza, in a ver}^ loud 
and commanding voice, to throw the harness on another of 
his fastest trotters, and have him round at the gate in less 
than half a minute, before his double-seated buggy, on pain 
of being flayed alive with his own horse-whip. It may be 
supposed that under such incitement the stable official handled 
strap and buckle with unusual dexterity ; and in very little 
more time than that allowed by the regulation, the vehicle 
dashed round to the gate, and the enraged owner stood whip 
in hand, ready to leap into it and urge a pursuit yet madder 
than had been the elopement. But Dr. Philip Pomeroy, 
having prepared to ride at once and with all diligence, found 
an unexpected hindrance, and did not pursue his journey until 
H much more advantageous start had been allowed to the 
fugitives. 

For while the doctor was preparing to spring into his 
vehicle, down the lane from the Darby road dashed the 
buggy and pair of Xathan Bladesden, which had so lately 
taken that direction-^dashed down, driven at such speed as 
flung the fine horses into a lather of foam, and utterly belied 
the calm reputation of the Quaker merchant. Nor was there 
any thing of the deliberation of the sect in the jerk with 
which he brought up the flying team by throwing them both 
back upon their haunches, or the suddenness with which he 
sprang from the buggy, leaving the horses unfastened, and 
strode to the open gate. 



THE COWARD. 177 

The rencontre was most inopportune and vexatious to the 
doctor, to whom minutes just then were hours ; and he may 
have had motives for wishing, that day, not to be placed 
beneath an eye so sharpened by age and experience. But 
Nathan Bladesden was a man of wealth and a power in the 
city, and not even Dr. Pomeroy could afford to treat him 
with rudeness by driving away at the very moment of his 
arrival. He smoothed his bent brows, therefore, and accosted 
him with every demonstration of interest. 

" Glad to see you, Mr. Bladesden ! You seem to have 
been driving fast ! But you come just in time, for I was 
about starting in a hurry to — to see a patient." 

Had Dr. Pomeroy been aware of all the circumstances con- 
nected with the morning call of the merchant— the shameful 
revelations made in the little room overhead — the agony of 
spirit in which the Quaker had forced himself away from the 
presence of Eleanor Hill, deserting her utterly and leaving 
her in such a state of suffering as made suicide very possible 
— and the continued and ever-deepening conflict which had 
since been going on in his mhid, as he dashed along roads 
that led him nowhere, his horses foaming in the heat but the 
heat in his brain a thousand times more intense, until at last 
he had driven back determined to drag the young girl, at 
every hazard and sacrifice, from that moral pest-house which 
must be sure infection and death to her soul, — had Dr. Pome- 
roy known all this, we say, not even his hardy spirit might 
have been willing to brave the encounter. But he knew 
nothing, and some of the perilous consequences of ignorance 
followed. 

" I did not come to see thee, Dr. Philip," replied the Quaker 
to his salutation,'passing on meanwhile towards the ^ront door, 
and something short and choppy in his words indicating that 
he did not wish to open his mouth at full freedom. "I saw 
thy ward, Eleanor Hill, this morning, and I am going to see 
her again." 

"Ah, you have been here to-day, then, before ? And you 
11 



178 THE COWARD. 

are going to see her again, after — ."' It was sur]^rising, for 
a man of his age and experience, how near he came to saying 
a word too much ! 

"After receiving thy letter 1 — yes!" answered the Quaker, 
turning short and confronting his quondam host, the restraint 
on his utterance removed. 

''My letter ? "What do you mean by ray letter ?" Had 
any one told Philip Pomeroy, half an hour before, that there 
was a man living who in five words could change the color on 
his cheek, he would have reckoned the informant a liar and 
grossly insulted him. Yet so it was ; and the flush, though 
it was already growing into that of defiant anger, had not been 
such when it began to rise. 

*' Thee does not seem to understand me, Dr. Philip," said 
the Quaker, his words still slow and no point of the sectarian 
idiom lost, but each dropping short and curtly as if a weighty 
substance falling heavily. "But thee will understand me 
before I am done. Thee wrote me a letter, signed 'A True 
Friend'—" 

" You lie !" A terrible word, to be flung into the teeth of 
any man ; and doubly terrible as hurled from lips then ashy 
w^hite. For just one instant the Quaker's large hands 
clutched, and he might have been moved to advance upon his 
insulter and avenge Eleanor Hill, himself and all the world, 
by choking the insult from his throat. But if such a thought 
really moved him, he controlled it and merely smote on with 
his words. 

" Thee wrote me a letter, signed 'A True Friend,' and thee 
shall have my opinion of it, before I go into that house and 
remove from thee, at any peril that may be necessary, the 
poor girl thee has disgraced." 

" Set a' foot nearer that house, if you dare !" was the reply. 

■ " Thee is a base, miserable coward, Dr. Philip ! — a 
scoundrel, a seducer, a lying slanderer, the offspring of a 
female dog of the cur species, a disgrace to thy country and 



THK COWARD. 179 

thy profession ; and if thee knows any more hard words that 
I forget, thee may put them all in on my account." 

"Xathan Bludesden, do you think that you will leave this 
spot alive, after using such words to me P^ and the hands of 
Philip Pomeroy were clutching at his wristbands as if rolling 
them up to put them out of the way of blood ! The purpose 
of attack was reversed : he seemed to be about to spring, 
tiger-like, at the Quaker's throat. 

''Thee will not kill me, Dr. Philip, if I do not 1" the latter 
said. '' I am stronger than thee, and have a better cause. I 
think I will not touch thee, but leave thee to thy Maker, if 
thee keeps thy hands off ; but I have made up my mind, if 
thee touches me, to beat thee until thee has no shape of a man 
. — until thee is dead as yonder gate-post. If thee thinks that 
I will not, thee had better try it I" 

Dr. Pomeroy did not believe himself a poltroon, nor was he 
one in that senile relating to purely physical courage. And 
had there been merely involved a conflict with that larger, 
stronger and better-preserved man, in which one or the other 
might suffer severe injury and disiiguremeut, he would have 
carried out his thought and sprung upon him, beyond a 
question. But something in those slow dropping pellets of 
compressed rage falling from the Quaker's lips, told the medi- 
cal man (seldom too angry to be subtle and cunning), that in 
the event of a struggle, and the merchant getting the upper 
hand, he would probably carry out his threat and actually beat 
him to death with those heavy fists before any human aid could 

interpose. And to be mangled into a corpse by a Quaker 

bah ! there was really something in the idea, likely to calm 
blood quite as hot with rage as that of Dr. Philip— apart from 
the slight objection he may have had to being hurried into 
eternity in any way, at that moment. Then another thought 
struck him — a double one : how completely the Quaker would 
be at fault, searching through the house for Eleanor Hill; 
and how he was himself losing time, in that miserable quarrel 
— time that could never be regained. His horse and buggy 



180 TUE COWARD. 

stood all the while just within the opened gate, where the 
ostler had left it and gone back to his care of the blown 
animal at the stable ; and as that important reflection forced 
itself upon his mind, he turned his back short upon the 
Quaker, strode to his buggy, stepped into it and dashed 
away, only pausing to hurl at his tormentor this one verbal 
bolt : 

" You infernal, snuffling, hypocritical ruffian ! I will settle 
with you for all this, when I have more time !" 

" Thee had better let the account stand as it does. Dr. 
Philip, if thee is not a fool as well as a scoundrel !" was the 
reply of the Quaker, but it is very doubtful whether the 
doctor heard half the words. He was already flying past 
the garden palings, at the full speed of his trotter, towards 
the causeway and the Market Street road, on his errand of 
reclamation and perhaps of vengeance. Then Xathan Blades- 
den pursued his way into the house, looking for the lost sheep, 
with that ill success rendered certain by Eleanor's flight, and 
that disappointment which often attends noble resolutions 
embraced one moment too late. 



The second of the supplementary scenes of that day was pre- 
sented in the parlors of the residence of Mrs. Burton Hayley 
— that parlor into which the reader had only a doubtful glance 
a few hours earlier, when events w^hich seemed likely to af- 
fect the life-long interests of some of the residents of that 
house, were occurring on the piazza. 

Rich furniture in rosewood and purple damask ; a piano of 
modern manufacture, the open bank of keys showing the soft 
coolness of mother-of-pearl ; carpets of English tapestry ; 
pier glasses that might have given reflection to the colonel 
of a Maine regiment or one of the sons of Anak ; tables and 
mantels strewn but not overloaded with delicate bronzes, 
gems in porcelain and Bohemian glass, and articles of fanci- 
ful bijouterie ; on one of the mantels — that of the front room 
—Cleopatra in ormolu upholding the dial of a clock with one 



THE COWARD. 181 

hand, but with the other applying to her voluptuously-rounded 
bosom the asp so soon to put a period to all her connectioa 
with time ; — what need of more than this to indicate the 
home in which Margaret Hayley had passed the last few 
years of her young life and approached that crisis so momen- 
tous to her future happiness ? Yet one thing more must be 
noticed — the stand of rosewood elaborately carved, set not far 
from the centre of the front parlor, and bearing on it a large 
Bible in the full luxury of russet morocco and gold, with 
massive gold clasps and a heavy marker in silk and bullion 
dependent from amid the leaves, — the whole somewhat osten- 
tatiously displayed to the sight of any one who first entered 
the room, as if to say: " There may seem to be pomps and 
vanities in this house, but any such impression would be a 
mistake : this book is the rule by which every thing within it 
is squared." 

On the sofa, wheeled into that corner of the luxurious 
parlor upon which the closed shutter threw the deepest and 
coolest shadow, lay Margaret Hayley, her head buried in the 
white pillow which some careful hand had brought for her, 
and her thrown-up hands drawing the ends of that pillow 
around her face as if she desired to shut away every sight 
and every sound. Her slight, tall figure seemed, as she lay 
at length, to be limp and unnerved ; and there was that in 
the whole position which seemed to indicate that the mental 
energies, if not the vital ones, had recoiled after being cruelly 
overtasked, and left her alike incapable of thought and 
motion. 

She was not alone, for beside her sat a lady dressed in very 
thin and light but rich and rather showy summer costume, 
rolling backward and forward in her Boston rocker, waving 
a feather fan of such formidable dimensions that its manufac- 
ture must have created a sudden rise in the material imme- 
diately after, and talking all the while with such stately 
volubility as if she believed that the hot air of the June 
afternoon would be less unendurable if kept constantly in mo- 



182 THE COWARD. 

tiou by the personal windmill of the tongue. This was Mrs. 
Burton Hayley, mother of Margaret, widow of the late Mr. 
Burton Hayley, railroad-contractor, snugly jointured with 
eight or ten thousand per annum, and endowed (as she her- 
self believed, and as we will certainly endeavor to believe 
with her, in charity) with so many of those higher gifts and 
graces of a spiritual order that her wealth had become dross 
and her liberal income rather a thing to be deplored than 
otherwise. (It may be the proper place, here, to say that 
the gilt Bible on the stand was the peculiar arrangement of 
this lady, and the sign — if so mercantile a word may be ap- 
plied to any thing really demanding all human respect and 
devotion — of that peculiar mental stock in trade which she 
was to be found most ready in exhibiting on all occasions.) 

Mrs. Burton Hayley was tall — even taller than her daugh- 
ter ; and her form had assumed, with advancing years, a 
fulness which the complimentary would have designated as 
"plump," the irreverent as "stout," and the vulgar as "fat." 
Her face, moulded somewhat after the same fashion as that 
of Margaret, must have been undeniably handsome in youth, 
though now — the truth must be told — it was not a specially 
lovable face to the acute observer. Her dark eyes had still 
kept their depths of beautiful shadow, and her intensely dark 
hair (though she had married late in girlhood and was now 
fifty) showed neither thinness nor any touch of gray. But 
the long and once classical features had become coarsened a 
little in the secondary formation of adipose particles; the 
possible paleness of girlhood had given place to a slight red 
flush (especially in that tropical weather) that was not by any 
means becoming to her ; and there were all the while two 
conflicting expressions fighting for prominence in her face, so 
different in themselves and so really impossible of amalga- 
mation, that the most rabid disciple of "miscegenation" could 
not have arranged a plan for blending them both into one. 
The outer expression, which seemed somehow to lie as a thin 
transparent strata over the other, indicated pious and resigned 



THE COWARD. 183 

liiimility — that feeling which passes by the ordiuarj accidents 
and troubles of life as merely gentle trials of faith and of no 
consequence in view of the great truth rooted within. The 
second and inner, which would persist in obtruding itself 
through the transparent mask, was pride — pride in its most 
intense and concentrated form — pride in blood, wealth, per- 
sonal appearance, position, every thing belonging to and 
going to make up that marvellous human compound, Mrs. 
Burton H^ley. The eyes were trained to be very subdued 
and decorous in their expression ; but they did so want to 
flash out authority, if not arrogance ! The nose was kept 
ahvaj^s (or generally) at the proper subservient level ; but it 
did so itch and tingle for the privilege of lifting itself high in 
air and taking a nasal view, from that altitude, of all the world 
lying below it ! It was very evident, to any one observing 
the mother after having examined the daughter's face in the 
clear light of physiognomy, that the latter had derived from 
her maternal progenitor most of that overweening pride which 
youth and beauty yet wore as a crown of glory but age might 
wear as something much less attractive, — and that she must 
have inherited from her dead father that softness, frankness, 
and that better-developed love-nature which toned down in 
her own all the more decided features of the mother's face 
and made her worthy of affection as well as admiration. 

As we have said, Mrs. Burton Hayley was using her tongue 
with great volubility at the moment of her introduction to 
the attention of the reader, though really the mode in which 
her single auditor kept her head buried in the pillow and 
drew the soft folds around her ears with both hands, did not 
indicate that desire for steady conversation which could have 
made such a continual verbal clatter a thing of necessity. 
There is the more occasion for giving Mrs. Burton Hayley 
her full opportunity for speech, as she has occasion to utter 
but little hereafter, in this connection. 

" You should be very thankful, my child, for all that has 
occurred," the voluble woman was saying. ''A Power higher 



184: THE COWARD. 

than ourselves overrules all these affairs much better than 
we could do ; and it is flying in the face of Providence to cry 
and go on over little disappointments." 

A pause of one instant, and one instant only, as if in 
expectation that some reply would be vouchsafed ; and then 
the band was again thrown upon the driving- wheel — as one 
of the machinery-tenders in a factory might say, — and the 
human buzz-saw whirled once more. 

" I have told you, child, time and again, that you would be 
punished for setting your affections on any person who had 
not given evidence of a changed heart— a man who had 
not passed from death unto life, but who still ran after the 
pomps and vanities of the world — those pomps and vanities 
which religion teaches us to despise and put away from us.'' 
(Oh, Mrs. Burton Hayley, why did you not catch a glance, 
at that moment, of the room in which you were sitting, redo- 
lent of every luxury within the reach of any ordinary wealth, 
and of your own stately and still comely person, arrayed in 
garments the least possible like those with which people con- 
tent themselves who have really eschewed the " pomps and 
vanities of the world," either from conscientious humility or 
that other and much commoner motive — the lack of means to 
continue them I) " You should be very glad that you have 
been providentially delivered from your engagement with an 
unbeliever and a man of the world — a man without principle, 
I dare say, as you have discovered that he is without courage ; 
aiid all the money there is in his family (and they do say that 
the Brands have not much and never have had much !) — all 
their money, I say, acquired in the disreputable practice of 
the law, so that if this thing had not happened and you had 
been left to depend for subsistence upon his fortune, you 
might have found it all melting away in a moment, as money 
dishonestly acquired is certain to do ; for does not the blessed 
book that I try to make my rule of life, say, my child, that 
moth is certain to corrupt and thieves break through and steal 
whatever has been wrung from the widow and the orphan?" 



THE COWARD. 185 

Margaret Hayley had not replied a word during the whole 
application of that verbal instrument of torture, though it 
seemed evident from the context that some conversation em- 
ploying the tongues of both must have passed at an earlier 
period of the interview. She had merely writhed in body 
and groaned in spirit, as every moment told her more and 
more distinctly that in her dark hour she had no mother who 
could understand and sympathize with her — that cant phrases 
and pious generalizations were to be hurled against her at 
that moment when most of all she needed to be treated by 
that mother like a wearied child, drawn home to her bosom 
and cradled to sleep amid soothing words and loving kisses. 

But Margaret Hayley did something else than writhe when 
the accusation of having acquired his wealth by dishonesty was 
cast upon the man whom she had worshipped — yes, the man 
whom she worshipped still, in spite of the one terrible defect 
which seemed to draw an eternal line of separation between 
them. She started up from her recumbent position, her hair 
dishevelled, her eyes red with weeping, and her whole face 
marked and marred by the anguish she had been suffering, — 
sprang up erect at once, with all her mother's pride manifest 
in voice and gesture, and said : 

" Mother, are you a rank hypocrite, or have you neither 
sense nor memory ?" 

A strange question, from a daughter to her mother ! The 
reply was not quite so strange, and it seemed to have much 
more of earnest in it than any portion of the long tirade she 
had before been delivering : 

" Margaret Hayley, how dare you !" 

" We can dare a good many things, when we do not care 
whether we live or die !" was the reply. "And though I 
Jiave loved and respected you as my mother, I do not know 
that I have ever been afraid of you. Now listen. You have 
hated Carlton Brand, ever since he first came to this house, 
because he did not treat your religious assumptions with quite 
as much deference as you considered proper. He may have 



186 THE C O W A R D. 

been right, or wrong : no matter now, as he is out of the way I 
But you have hated him, and you know it — because I loved 
him — I am not ashamed to own it ! — loved him with my 
whole soul, as I believed that he deserved — as any woman 
should love the man whom she expects to take her to his 
heart !" 

" Well, what if I did dislike him? I had a right to do 
that, I suppose !" answered the mother, her voice no longer 
religiously calm, but rough and querulous. 

" Do not interrupt me ! — hear me out !" said the young 
girl. " You liked Hector Coles for a corresponding reason — 
because he pretended to fall into all your notions, and com- 
plimented you on your * piety' and * Christian dignity,' when 
he was all the while laughing at you behind your back. You 
would have been pleased to see me discard the man I loved, 
and marry the man I could never love while I lived, — because 
your own likes and dislikes were in the way, and because you 
believed that in the position of mother-in-law you could 
manage the one and could not manage the other." 

''Well, what else, to your mother. Miss Impertinence!" 
broke in the lady who had been so voluble. 

" Oh, a great deal more !'' answered Margaret, with a 
manner not very different from a sneer. " To-day, since you 
have known that for one spot on a character otherwise so 
noble, I have broken off all relations with Carlton Brand, you 
have done nothing but sit here and preach me Christian resig- 
nation in words that your own heart was as steadily denying. 
When a true mother would have tried to console, you have 
tortured. And you have ended all by alleging that Carlton 
Brand and his father have acquired their money dishonorably, 
because they have both been lawyers, — and that such money 
must be accursed in the hands of any one who holds it." 

" I have said so, and I hav£ a right to say so I" echoed the 
mother, " You may let loose your ribald tongue against the 
author of your being, ungrateful girl ; but the truth is from 
heaven, and must be told — wealth obtained in any manner by 



THE COWARD. 187 

day, upon which a blessing cannot be asked at night, is itself 
accursed, and curses every one who partakes in the use of it." 

"And every dollar that has been dishonestly obtained, then, 
should at once be restored to the rightful owner, I suppose — 
in order to escape the curse ?" suggested Margaret. 

*' Every dollar, and at once ; for, as the Bible says, the 
spoiler cometh as a thief in the night, and no one can say how 
soon the judgment may fall 1" answered the mother, trium- 
phantly and in full confidence that she had at last silenced her 
refractory child by a strictly orthodox quotation. 

" How much are we worth, mother ?" was the singular ques- 
tion which followed this supposed annihilation of all argument. 

" Why, you know as well as I do that we have eighty 
thousand in stocks and in bank ; and this property and that 
at Pottsville is believed to be worth twenty or thirty thousand 
more. We are worth, as you call it, more than a hundred 
thousand, and the whole of it will be yours some day — not 
very long first, when I have gone, as I hope and trust I may 
say, to my reward. You are rich, my child, and I am glad 
to see that you think of these things at last, as you may be 
kept from throwing yourself away again.^' 

The voice and whole manner of the mother w^ere much 
more amiable than they had been at any time since the rising 
of her daughter from the sofa ; for nothing seemed to restore 
the tone of her agitated feeling like references, from whatever 
source, to her wealth and position. 

" A hundred thousand. There is not nearly enough, then !'* 
The words were half muttered, but Mrs. Burton Hayley 
distinctly heard them. And she saw something on the face 
of the young girl which she by no means understood, as the 
latter drew from her bosom the lower ends of the gold chain 
depending there, and unclasped the back of a rather large 
and very thick locket, the front of which presented a minia- 
ture in ivory of the handsome, well- whiskered and pleasant- 
looking Mr. Burton Hayley, her deceased father. Though 
she raised the locket to her lips and kissed it reverently, that 



188 THE COWARD. 

something on the face had not changed when she took from 
its unsuspected concealment a small slip of newspaper, neatly 
folded and of size enough to contain some twenty or thirty 
lines of small type. The mother's eyes were by this time 
wide open with astonishment and partial fear that her 
daughter had lost her wits in the agitation of that day. The 
paper looked old and yellow. Margaret unrolled it and said : 

*' Mother, here is something that I have carried with me 
night and day for five years past. I found it at that time, 
when clipping old newspapers in the attic, for my scrap-book. 
I marked the date on the back — it is eighteen years old, and 
the paper was a Harrisburgh one of that time. Have you 
your glasses with you, or shall I read it ?" 

" Why, child, are you crazy ? What has that slip of paper 
to do with the subject of which we were talking ?" 

" Perhaps you can tell quite as well as myself, after I read 
it," answered Margaret.' And she moved nearer to the one 
unshuttered window of the parlor, to secure a better light for 
the small type and dingy paper, the face of her mother 
gradually changing, meanwhile, from the surprise which had 
filled it, to a whiteness which seemed born of terror. Mar- 
garet read : 

" SouTTER AND OTHERS VS. Hatlet ajtd OTHERS. — This somewhat 
remarkable railroad case closed yesterday, and the complaint was 

dismissed. Judge L , in granting the motion for a dismissal, 

took occasion to remark that he had seldom performed a more 
painful duty. That the railroad company had been defrauded to 
the extent of not less than eighty thousand dollars by Burtou 
Hayley, the contractor, was one of the conclusions — the learned 
judge said — in which all would unfortunately agree. But tho 
operation had been managed with great skill, and legal evidence 
of what was morally certain had not been produced. He should 
therefore grant the motion, with the regret expressed, and with the 
hope that in a future prosecution the evidence which was certainly 
demanded might be forthcoming, and the defrauded company at 
least find themselves in. a position to punish the wrong-doer. We 
hear it stated, upon authority which seems reliable, that Hayley 
has heretofore been known as a reliable man, and that he has un- 



THE COWARD. 189 

doubtedly been urged to steps wliich he must regret during bis 
whole life, even if justice does not reach him, or conscience compel 
him to make restitution, — by the demands made upon him in behalf 
of a ruinously expensive family, and by evil advice which he has 
no doubt received from the same quarter. Hayley will probably 
leave Harrisburgh at once, to enjoy what may be left of his ill- 
gotten gains in some locality where his antecedents are less fully 
understood." 

Mrs. Burton Hayley had sunk back into her chair at the 
moment when Margaret read the first words, and she re- 
mained silent till the close. Her face was white, except that 
a single red spot burned in the very centre of either cheek. 
Her daughter looked steadily upon her for an instant after 
she had concluded. Still neither spoke. The mother's eyes 
had in them something of that baleful light shown by the 
orbs of a wild beast when driven to its corner ; and they, 
with the crimson spotted cheeks, were not pleasant things to 
look upon. At last Margaret asked : 

" Did you ever hear of this before ? Was that man my 
father ?" 

" What of it ? Yes !" The words were nearer spat out 
than spoken. Margaret glanced, perhaps involuntarily, at 
the ostentatious Bible on its carved stand. 

"Was that money ever repaid to the railroad company?" 

For just one instant the lips of Mrs. Burton Hayley moved 
as if she was about to utter a falsehood little less black than 
the original crime had been. If she had for that instant in- 
tended to do so, she thought better of it and jerked out : 
" How should I know ? I suppose there is no use in telling 
a lie about it, to you! 'No 1" 

"So I thought!" said Margaret Hayley. "That eighty 
thousand dollars, then, has been standing for fifteen years, 
and the interest upon it would nearly double the sum. We 
owe that railroad company, or so many members of the 
original company as may be yet alive, not less than one hun- 
dred and fifty thousand dollars. We have only an hundred 



190 THE COWARD. 

thousand or a very little more, but that will be something. 
Of course, after what you have just said of the curse that 
clings to ill-gotten gain, you will join me in paying over 
every dollar in our possession, at once." 

Mrs. Burton Hayley sprang up from her chair with more 
celerity than she had before exhibited. "Margaret Hayley, 
are you a born fool ?" she almost screamed. 

" l!!i 0, nor a horn hypocrite !^^ the young girl replied. Again 
her eyes went round to the Bible, and those of the mother 
followed hers as if they were compelled by a charm. Then 
those of the latter drooped, and they did not rise again as she 
said, la a much lower voice : 

" You know the secret. I am in your power. But T am 
your mother, and it may be quite as well for you to be merci- 
ful to me as well as to yourself. Upon what terms will you 
give me that paper and promise never to speak of it or of the 
affair to any one without my consent ?" 

" I will not give you the paper upon an]/ terms !" was the 
answer. " That has been my shame and my torture for five 
years, and must still accompany me. But I will be your ac 
complice in crime and make the promise you require, on three 
conditions and those only. i^iV.s^, that you drop all hypocrisy 
when speaking to me, whatever you may do before the world. 
Second, that you never speak one disrespectful word of Carl- 
ton Brand, again, in my hearing. He is dead to me : let 
your hatred of him die with him, or at least let me hear no 
word of it. Third, that you urge no person upon me as a 
husband. Present me whom you please — throw me into any 
company you wish ; but say not one word to force me into 
marriage with Hector Coles or any other person. This will 
not break my heart — I know it. I shall marry some time, 
no doubt, when I find the man who can supply that place in 
my heart which has to-day been left empty, — without any 
foible or weakness to make him an unfit match for my own 
stainless blood !" 

There was a bitter emphasis upon the penultimate word, 



Til E C O W A K D. 191 

and Mrs. Burton Hayley distinctly recognized it. She recog- 
nized, too, the somewhat singular prophecy made by a young 
girl on the very day of her final parting with the man she 
had loved so dearly — that she would yet find another to fill 
her heart more completely. Most young persons think very 
differently at the moment of the great first sorrow, believe 
that the vacant niche can never be filled, and make painful 
promises of hopeless lives and celibacy, to cancel those prom- 
ises some day amid blushes of regret or peals of laughter. 
Mrs. Burton Hayley recognized the singularity then, and she 
may have had reason to recall that prophecy at another day 
in the near future. 

But there was yet something that she must do, to seal that 
treaty of which her daughter w^as the dictator. Her own 
compact was to be made : she made it. 

"I will do as you wish, Margaret. They are hard terms 
to set, to your mother ; but I accept them." 

" Yery well, then. We understand each other, now ; and 
I hope there will never be another painful word between us. 
I will try to speak none, and for both our sakes I hope you 
will be as careful. Now leave me, please. I will draw to 
this other shutter, for I need darkness, silence and rest — ^yes, 
rest !" 

The closed blind left the room in almost total dusk. The 
mother left the room, stepping slowly and appearing to bear 
about with her a dim consciousness that within the past half- 
hour her relative position with her daughter had been most 
signally changed. Margaret Hayley threw herself once 
more on the sofa, buried her fevered brow and her dishevelled 
hair in the soft, cool, white pillow, and sought that wished- 
for "rest." Alas ! no tvrant ever invented a torture-bed so 
full of weary turnings and agonized prayers for deliverance 
or oolivion, as the softest couch whereon young love, sud- 
denly and hopelessly bereft, reachctj out its arms in vain, 
finds emptiness, and falls back despairing — moaning for the 
lost twin of its soul ! The agony may be all forgotten to- 



192 THE COWARD. 

morrow, in the sunshine, and the intoxication of music, and 
the voices of friends, and the far-off dawning of a new pas- 
sion ; but oh, what is the martyrdom of to-night. 



The third and last of these supplementary scenes, occur- 
ring at nearly the same period in the afternoon as the second, 
has its location at the house of Robert Brand, and a part of 
it in the same room where we have before seen the testy^ 
invalid while receiving the news of his son's defection and 
disgrace. 

Robert Brand was once more back in his easy-chair, his 
injured limb again propped on the pillows, and his face show- 
ing all those contortions of extraordinary pain likely to be 
induced by his imprudent ride and the agitation attending it. 
Satisfied, now, that his son was not dead, the tender father 
had again died out in him ; but made aware by a succession 
of facts, which he could neither understand nor doubt, that 
that son, just characterized, even by himself, as a hopeless 
coward, had since that time been fighting, and fighting with- 
out any evidence of cowardice, in a species of hand-to-hand 
conflict likely to try the courage quite as seriously as the 
shock of any ordinary battle, — he was mentally in a state of 
confusion on the young man's account, altogether unusual 
with him and not a little painful. He did not curse any 
more, or at least no more of his curses were aimed at the 
head of his son. 

Poor little Elsie had been left without a hope of reconcili- 
ation between her father and her brother, after the hurling 
of that wild and wicked curse and the exile from his home 
which it involved. But the episode of the supposed death 
had made a diversion in Carlton's favor ; her father had 
returned from the search for his son's body, worried and 
unsettled if not mollified ; and the affectionate soul thought 
that the opportunity might be a favorable one for securing 
the reversal of the cruel sentence, with concealment from her 
brother that any such words had ever been uttered, and his 



THE COWARD. 193 

eventual return home as if nothing painful or unpleasant had 
occurred. "Blessed are the peace-makers 1" says very high 
authority ; and most blessed of all are those who, like little 
Elsie, ignoring their own suffering and ill-treatment, strive 
to bring together the divided members of a once hapi)y 
household ! 

But the little girl was not half aware how stubborn was 
the material upon which she was trying to work, or how 
deeply seated was the feeling of mortification which had 
embittered the whole nature of the man who held cowardice 
to be the most unpardonable of vices. 

" Hold your tongue, girl !" was the severe reply to her 
suggestion that there might be some mistake, after all — that 
poor Carlton had enemies, and they had no doubt labored to 
place him in a false position — and that he would be sorry, to 
the last day he lived, if when Carlton returned hom'e, as he 
probably would do that night if nothing serious had really 
happened to him, he should say one word to drive him away 
again, to leave himself without a son, and her without a 
brother. "Hold your tongue, girU You are a little fool, 
and do not know what you are talking about. If you do not 
wish to follow your brother, you had best not meddle any 
more in the relations which I choose to establish with a son 
who has disgraced himself and me !" 

"But suppose poor Carlton should be dead, after all, 
father ? Who knows but some stranger may have come by 
in a wagon, seen the body lying on the ground, picked it up 
and carried it away to the Coroner's ?" 

"Eh! what is that you say?" For the instant Ilobert 
Brand was startled by the suggestion and his heart sunk as 
well as softened at the recurring thought that his son might 
indeed be dead. But the thought was just as instantaneous^ 
how general was the objection to touching an unknown dead 
body, and how unlikely that any such course should h^ye 
been adopted by strangers, while any acquaintance, removing 
the body at all, would certainly have brought it home to his 
12 



194 THE COWARD. 

own house. No — he was alive ; and that belief was once 
more full in the mind of Robert Brand as he said : 

" What do I care if he is dead ! I believe I could forgive 
him better, if I knew that he was, and that I should never 
again set eyes on the likeness of a man with the soul of a cat 
or a sheep ! if he is alive, as I believe he is, let him never 
come near this house again if he does not wish to hear words 
said that he will remember and curse the last thing before he 
dies !" 

A sharp spasm of pain concluded this unhallowed utter- 
ance, and words followed that have no business on this page. 
Elsie Brand fired again, when she found all her pleading in 
vain, and broke out with : 

" You are a miserable heartless old wretch, and I have a 
reat mind to go out of this house, this very moment, and 
never come into it again as long as I live, unless you send 
for me to come back with my brother !" 

" Go, and the quicker the better I" writhed the miserable 
man, in the midst of a spasm of Dain. " If I hear one more 
impertinent word out of you, you ivill go, whether you wish 
to go or not, and you will never come back again unless you 
come on your knees !" 

What might hare been the next word spoken by either, and 

\^'hether that next word might not indeed have wrought the 

separation of father and daughter, no one can say. For at 

that moment came a fortunate interruption, in the sound of 

irriage wheels coming rapidly up the lane, and easily heard 

trough the open doors — then the furious barking of a dog, 

he yell of a woman's voice, and a volley of fearful curses 

»oured out from the rougher lips of a man. Elsie, alarmed, 

♦ut perhaps rather glad than otherwise to have the threaten- 

^ig conversation so suddenly ended, rushed out of the room, 

'.hrough the parlor, to the front piazza, where she joined the 

j^eneral confusion with a scream of affright, hearing which, 

ihe invalid, who had before, more than once that day, proved 

jow superior the mind could be to the disablements of the 



THE COWARD. 195 

bodv, hurled one more oath at the people who would not even 
allow him to saffer in quiet, started again from his chair, 
strapped his heavy cane and stumped hurriedly to the door, 
writhing in agony and half crazed with pain and vexation. 
There the sight which had the instant before met the eyes of 
his daughter, met his owa, though the effect pi'oduced by it 
upon himself ,was so very different that instead of screaming 
he dropped tigainst the lintel of the front door In a loud ex- 
plosion of laughter. 

There was a horse and buggy in the lane, very near the 
gate — the horse unheld, rearing and squealing, but making 
no attempt to run away as might have been expected. Close 
beside the vehicle, a man easily recognizable as Dr. Philip 
Pomeroy, was engaged in a hand-to-hand (or is it hand-to- 
mouth?) conflict with Carlo, the big watch-dog, using the 
butt of his whip, the lash of it, his boots, and any other weapon 
of offence in his possession, against the determined assaults 
of the powerful brute that really seemed disposed to make a 
meal of the man of medicine. The doctor fought well, in that 
new revival of the sports of the Pvoman arena, but he was 
terribly bested (by which it is only intended to use an old 
word of the days of chivalry, and not to make an atrocious 
pun upoil heast-ed ;) and just at the moment when Robert 
Brand's eyes took in all the particulars of the scene, the 
human combatant, following up a temporary advantage, lunged 
ahead a little too far, lost his balance or caught his foot, and 
went headlong on the top of the dog, the contest being there- 
after conducted on the ground and in the partial obscurity of 
the fence. At the same instant, too, the tall, bare-headed 
and bare-armed figure of old Elspeth Graeme appeared from 
behind the corner of the house, and the voice of that Caledo- 
nian servitor was heard screaming out: 

" Here, Carlo ! Here, lad ! coom awa, ye daft deevil ! 
Here ! here ! coom awa, lad !" 

Elsie joined with a feeble " Here, Carlo I" from the piazza; 
?^nd Robert Brand, if he could have found voice, would prob- 



196 THE COWARD. 

ably have assisted in calling off the dog; but Carlo, a for- 
midable animal in size, black, with a few dashes of white, 
compounded of the Newfoundland and the Mount St. Bernard, 
with a surreptitious cross of the bull-dog (such immorality 
has been known even in canine families, to the great regret 
of precisian dog-fanciers) — Carlo had no idea whatever of 
"throwing up the sponge," (which with a dog consists, we 
believe, in dropping his tail), and might have fought on until 
death, doomsday, or the loss of his teeth from old age, arrived 
to stop him — had not Elspeth closed in with a " Hech ! ye 
born deevil ! Ye'U aye be doin' more than ye'r tauld !" 
grasped the huge animal by the nape of the neck, and dragged 
him away very much as if she had been dealing with a kitten. 

Thus relieved, the doctor recovered his feet ; but he was — 
as Elspeth described him in a communication made not long 
after — " a sair lookin' chiel I" He had lost his hat, dusted 
his coat, and found a sad rent in one ]eg of his nether gar- 
ments, not to mention the rage which flashed in his eye and 
almost foamed from his mouth. For the first moment after 
the rescue he seemed to have a fancy for " pitching into" old 
Elspeth, unreasonable as such a course would have been after 
her calling off the dog and finalh^ lugging him off by mam 
force ; and he did hurl after her an appellation or two which 
might have furnished a rhyme to the name of the Scottish 
national disease ; but the stout serving woman quelled him 
with this significant threat, and went on her way, dragging 
the dog towards his kennel in the backyard : 

" 'Deed, if ye can't keep a ceevil tongue in yer heid, I'll no 
be holdin' the tyke awa from ye a bit langer, and he'll eat ye 
up, I doubt !" 

At that juncture the discomfited doctor caught sight of 
Robert Brand and his daughter, in the door and on the piazza, 
and he strode in to them without further ado, whip still in 
hand, rage still Jn his face, and threatening enough in his 
manner to indicate that he intended to cowhide so many of 
the familv as he could find, male and female. 



THE COWARD. 197 

" Who let out that infernal dog ?" was his first salutation, 
without first addressing either the old man or his daughter 
by name. 

" lie must have broken loose, himself. Indeed, Doctor, 
we are so sorry—" began little Elsie, who had really been 
frightened out of her wits, and who had that organ unknown 
to the phrenologists, called Hospitality, very largely devel- 
oped. 

" Hold your tongue, girl, and let me attend to my own 
business !" was the surly interruption of the invalid father, 
who had stopped laughing, and who had at that juncture a 
very low development of the corresponding organ. '' We are 
not sorry at all. Dr. Pomeroy, I told you this morning, when 
I ordered you out of this house, never to come near it again ; 
and you had better paid attention to the order." 

" Then you had that dog set loose !" 

" That is a lie !" was the response. The doctor, who had 
used the same expression in a still more offensive form, not 
long before, was getting the chalice returned to his lips at 
very short notice. And the old man, in denying the act, in- 
tended to tell the exact truth — he had not turned the do"- 
loose, or set him upon the doctor, except secondarily. Some 
hours before, when the medical man had just been dismissed 
for the first time, he had told the Scottish woman that 'he 
would bundle her out, neck and crop, if she did not set the 
dog on that man if he ever came near the house again !' and 
she had promised to obey his orders : that was all I Carlo, 
a dear friend of his young master, had always hated the 
doctor, who was his enemy, and never passed without snap- 
ping and growling at him ; and the old woman well knew 
the fact. Consequently, when she saw the buggy dashing up 
the lane, and recognized it, she had religiously kept her promise, 
darted round to the kennel, unloosed the dog and directed his 
attention to the obnoxious individual, with a " Catch him, lad- 
die !" that sent him flying at the doctor's throat just as he 
stepped to the ground. And it was only when the old 



198 THE COWARD. 

woman believed the punishment going a little too far and the 
victim likely to be eaten up in very deed, that she had inter- 
posed and dragged the enraged Vjrute from his prey. All this 
was unknown to both father and daughter, who merely sup- 
posed that the dog had broken loose at that awkward mo- 
ment ; and Robert Brand's disclaimer, though a very un- 
courteous one, had the merit of truth. But the doctor, just 
then enraged beyond endurance, literally " boiled overeat 
the word. 

" I lie, do I ?" he foamed. " If you were not a miserable 
cripple, I would horsewhip you on your own door-step, old 
as you are !" 

"Oh, Doctor I oh, father!" pleaded the frightened Elsie, 
who did not know what might be coming after this. 

" Hold your tongue, girl !" again spoke Robert Brand, who 
still stood leaninGT asrainst the lintel of the door. "Horse- 
whip me, would you, you poisoning Copperhead ! If I could 
not beat out your brains with this stick, I could set a woman 
at you who would take you across her knee and spank yea 
till you w^ere flat like a pancake !" 

Dr. Pomeroy thought of the woman who had dragged oflf 
the dog, and had some doubts whether she could not indeed 
do all that her master promised. He seemed to have the 
luck, that day, to fall into the way of people sturdy of arm 
and strong of w\\\ ! 

" What do you ivani here ?" was the inquiry of the old 
man, before the doctor could answer again, and remembering 
that there might be some special errand upon which he had a 
right to come. 

"You have remembered it, have you ?" w^as the response. 
" Well, then, I want your thief of a son ! Is he in this 
house ?" 

" Oh, he was a coward this morning : now he is a thief, is 
he ? What do you want of him ?" 

" He committed theft at my house not more than an hour 



THK COWAKD. 1^9 

ago ; and I am going to find him if he is in the State. Oucq 
more— is he here ?" 

" What did he steal ?" asked the father with a sneer, wliila 
poor Elsie stood nearly fainting and yet unable to move from 
the spot, at that new charge against her brother. 

"A woman." Elsie felt relieved; the old man sneered. 

"Well, I can only say that if he took awny any woman 
belonging to you, he must have a singular taste !" 

"Robert Brand" — and the doctor spoke in a tone of low 
and c^^icntrated passion — "once more and for the last time 
I ask you whether your son is in this house, with Eleanor 
Hill, my — my adopted daughter, in his company." 

" Eleanor Hill !" gasped Elsie, but no one heard her. 

" Dr. Pomeroy," answered Robert Brand, " you do not 
deserve any answer except a blow, but I will give you one. 
My son, as you call him, Carlton Brand, is not here, and will 
never be here again while I live, unless to be thrust out like a 
dog. How many girls he has, or w^here he conceals them, is 
none of my business, or yours/ Now go, if you know when 
you are well oflF, for as sure as God lets me live, if I ever see 
you approaching this house again, I will shoot you from the 
window Avith my own hand." 

Something in the tone told Dr. Pomeroy that both the as- 
sertion and the threat were true. He turned without another 
word, stepped to his buggy, mounted into it and drove away. 

" He is alive, father — thank God !" said Elsie Brand, rev- 
erently, when the unwelconie visitor had disappeared and 
she was assisting the invalid back to his chair of suffering. 
That one assurance bad been running through her little head, 
putting out all other thoughts, since the remark of the doctoi 
that Carlton had been at his house not an hour before. 

" He is as dead to me as if he had been buried ten years !" 
was the reply of the implacable father, who stood in momen- 
tary peril of the grave from some sudden turn of his disease, 
and yet who had not even taken that first step towards prepara- 
tion for the Judgment, compiised in pity and forgiveness I 



200 THE COWARD. 



CHAPTER X. 

Before axd after Gettysburoii — The Apathy and De- 
spair WHICH PRECEDED, AND THE JUBILATIOX WHICH 

FOLLOWED — What Kitty Hood said after the Battle, 
AND what Robert Brand — Brother and Sister — A 
GiiEST at the Fifth Avenue Hotel — A fire-room 
Visit, an Interviet7, and a Departure for Europe. 

It whs a dark day for the nation — perhaps none darker ! — 
that day of late June, 1863, marked by the occurrence of tha 
preceding events. Private interests, private wrongs, private 
sorrows seemed all to be culminating or laying down fearful 
material for culmination in the future ; but those domestic 
convulsions were only a faint and feeble type of that great 
throe agitating the whole nation. That day the bravest 
feared, not for themselves but for the country they loved ; 
and that day the miserable trucklers who would long before 
have had the republic veil its face and sink on its knees before 
the arrogance of rebellion, begging for "peace'' with dishonor, 
instead of demanding and enforcing victory, — that day they 
experienced such a triumph as they had never before known 
and such as their narrow souls could scarcely appreciate. 
"We told you so I" rung out from the throat of every "con- 
ditional loyalist," as the same paltry exultation had rung 
many an age before against the unsubmitting tribunes by the 
mad populace when the Tohcians threatened to devastate 
Rome — as it had been yelled into the ears of Philip Yan Ar- 
tevelde and his brother defenders, when Ypres and Bruges 
fell, and the fierce Earl of Flanders promised death to the 
burghers of Ghent ; and there was little, except bald defiance, 
that loyal men could reply. That long-boasted "invasion of 
the North" had come at last ; and tbfsre is always a disheart- 
ening effect in the drawing of war nearer to the doors it has 
heretofore spared, even as there is always a scum among any 



THE CO W A R D. 201 

population, ready to cry "ruin !" and counsel "submission" 
or "compromise" when a single move in the great game of 
war has ended disastrous!}'. 

A more dreary spectacle than Philadelphia presented 
daring some of the days of that week, cannot very well be 
imagined. From Ilarrisburgh and many of the minor towns 
of the west and southwest of the State, the inhabitants bad 
fled by thousands to other places supposed to be less -easily 
within reach of the enemy; and, if in a future day of peace, 
those who at this juncture took part with the rebellion should 
chance to be shamed with a reminder of the panic in Rich- 
mond, and the removal of the Confederate archives, after 
Hanover Court-House in 1862, they may very pleasantly re- 
taliate by calling up the panic at Harrisburgh and the packing 
up of'the Pennsylvania State records, after York and Carlisle 
in 1803. Hundreds of wealthy persons removed their valua- 
bles even to Philadelphia; and there is no guarantee what- 
ever that many of them did not make a still further removal 
East, when they could do so without attracting disagreeable 
attention and running the chance of after ridicule. 

There seemed to be an impression just then, in fact, that 
there was no power whatever to check the disciplined but 
half-starved and desperate rebel hordes. Even those who 
did not view the affair as any matter of gloom or discourage- 
ment, still believed it one of heavy loss that must be submitted 
to with the best grace possible. 

One of the young Philadelphia merchants was recognized 
by a friend, on one of the very last days of June, knocking 
about the balls in the billiard-room of the Cattskill Mountain 
House, £lnd questioned by him as to the propriety of his 
being away from the Quaker City at a time when so heavy a 
misfortune as the rebel advance to the Delaware seemed to 
be impending. 

"Oh," said the raeroJiant, making an eight-shot at the 
same moment, "I do not see any good that I could do by 
etaying." 



202 THE COWARD. 

*'And do you not believe that the rebels will reach Phila- 
delphia ?" asked the friend. 

" Well, yes, I rather think they will,'' answered the noncha- 
lant. "I should not be surprised if they should reach tliert 
to-morrow. In fact I telegraphed to my partner from 
Albany, yesterday, whenever they had taken Harrisburgh 
to pack up the most valuable of our goods and send them to 
New York." 

"And when they have taken Xew York ?" asked the inter- 
rogator, not a little amused at that new system of defending 
valuable property and the country. 

" Oh," said the merchant, as be sighted another shot and 
made his carom without the tremor of a pulse — " when they 
take Xew York, as I suppose they will in a week or two, we 
shall move them to Boston, and so keep on working East till 
they drive us into Canada or the Atlantic." 

And this was not all.a jest, by any means. The player had 
so telegraphed, and he more than half believed that his goods 
were at that time in course of removal, while he had no 
thought whatever of deserting his billiard-table and going 
down to assist in defendiug them. He was not alone, mean- 
while, in his reprehensible coolness, as history will be at 
some pains to record of that extraordinary crisis. 

Philadelphia presented many strange spectacles on those 
days. Apart from the blowing of a brass band on every 
corner, the patrolling of every sidewalk by a recruiting officer 
with fife and drum, and the requisite number of human 
"stool-pigeons," and the exhibition of the placard before 
noted, offering every inducement in money and every plea of 
patriotism for " State defence," — there were other and yet 
more marked indications of a period out of the common order 
even for war-time. The American and the Merchants', 
favorite resorts of mercantile buyers from the rural countie? 
of the State, were full of guests, but they lounged in the 
reading and smoking-rooms, and had no thought of com- 
mercial transactions. Gold was going up, its higher rate 



THE CO W A R D . 203 

marking increased fever in the pulse of the national patient; 
and yet business was almost as stagnant in the broker's 
offices of Third Street as were wholesale transactions in the 
heavy houses on Walnut and Chestnut and Market below 
Second. The old Tonawanda and the still older Saranac, 
lyin^r idle at the foot of Walnut Street, their yards lank and 
bare as winter trees, and the ships waiting for freight that 
seemed to be long in coming, found a new use in illustrating 
the hopeless stagnation of the city. The theatres had nearly 
all closed before, and. the last hurried its unprofitable season 
to an end. The red bricks of old Independence Hall seemed 
more dingy than ever ; and those who glnnced into the hall 
where the gre^t Dt'claration was signed in Seventy-six, at tho 
cracke 1 bell and the other sad reminders of a past age and a 
by-gone patriotism, thought whether new masters would not 
claim t]iose relics for their own, before many days, issuing a 
new manifesto of slavery from that second Cradle of Liberty, 
while their gaunt steeds were picketed in Independence 
Square. Men saw the sleepless eye of the clock look down 
from the old steeple, at night, with a helpless prayer, as if 
something of protection which had before lived in the sacred 
building was to be found no more ; and the bell woke many 
a sleeper at midnight, with its slow and melancholy stroke, 
to a feeling of loss and sorrow like that which it might have 
evoked when sounding for the burial of dear friends. All 
day long crowds gathered and held their place, wearily 
moving to and fro, but never dispersing, in the open space 
in front of the historic pile ; and " peace" orators, who had 
before been awed into silence by the threats and demonstra- 
tions of earlier days, once more ventured treasonable har- 
angues to sections of those crowds, while the policemen scarcely 
found energy enough to disperse the hearers or arrest the 
disturbers. The bulletin boards were besieged ; the news- 
paper ofiices had a demand for extras unknown to the oldest 
inhabitant of the quiet city ; and the telegraph offices, busied 
alike with messages of public and private interest, had never 



20JI THE COWARD. 

before known such a test of their capacity since Morse first 
set Prometheus at his new occupation of a messenger. A 
few troops marched away, the Reserves (with Dick Compton 
in their ranks) among the number ; and the New York 
militia regiments and some of the New Jersey troops passed 
through on their third campaign for " home defence ;'' but the 
public mind was not reassured. Once there was a rumor 
that McClellan had been called again to the command of the 
Army of the Potomac, or at least entrusted with the defence 
of the State, and then the general pulse for the moment beat 
wildly ; hut the inspiriting report died away again, the non- 
arrival of the morning train from Harrisburgh one day 
threw the whole city into panic, and the thought of successfully 
defending the State capital sunk lower than ev^er. The 
President, who had been bespoken to meet the Loyal Leagues 
and raise a new flag on Independence Hall on the Fourth of 
July, was too busy or too much discouraged, and would not 
come ; and what heart lacked an excuse for sinking down 
when so much was threatened and so little spirit shown for 
meeting the great peril ? 

This was the week preceding the Fourth ; and in that week, 
which closed with the National Anniversary, what changes 
had taken place ! The time and its vicissitudes seemed 
to be an exact offset to the hopes and the disappointments 
of the same period of 1862. Then, the Army of the Potomac 
had lain before Richmond, and the Fourth was to have seen 
the old flag waving in the rebel capital. It had really seen 
the little General driven back upon the James, and repulsed 
if not hopelessly defeated. The Fourth of 1863 was to see 
Harrisburgh in the hands of the rebels, and the national cause 
sunken lower than it had before been since the advent of the 
secession. What did it really see ? Thank God for a few 
such hours as those of the close of the Fourth, in the midst 
of whole centuries of loss and disappointment ! All was 
changed — all w^as saved ! Meade, a man of whom but few 
knew any thing more, a week earlier, than that he worS a 



THE COWARD. 205 

brave man, a good fighting General, and a brother of the 
overslaughed Captain Dick Meado, of the North Carolina— 
Meade had arisen in doubt and culminated in glory. Bloodiest 
and most important of all the battles of the Continent, 
Getty sburgh stood -already upon the pages of the National 
history, soaked with the blood of the bravest— holy with the 
bravery and the energy which had there broken and rolled 
back the tide of invasion, and yet to be holier still as the 
Cemetery of the Battle-Dead of the Republic. Orators who 
began their Fourth of July addresses with only their pulses 
of anxiety stirred by the knowledge that there had been three 
days fighting, that Reynolds was killed, and that the conflict 
seemed to have been desperate and undecided, did not close 
them before they knew that the great victory was won, that 
Meade was to be thenceforth a name of honor in the lan^, 
that Lee and his hordes were in disastrous retreat, and that 
the "invasion of the North" was at an end for all the time 
covered by this struggle. The news of -Yicksburg was soon 
to come, another crowning glory for the Fourth, though not 
known for days after, and Grant w^as to be a third time 
canonized. But just then there was enough without Ylcks- 
burg, and the nation might have gone mad over the double 
tidings had they come at once. 

Who, that has one drop of patriotic blood surging in his 
heart, can ever forget the reading of those " victory extras" 
that flew wnde over the land on Saturday night and Sunday 
morning— the quavering voices of the readers, the reddening 
cheeks and flashing eyes of the hearers ? Never before did 
so much seem to have been won, because never before did so 
much seem to have been perilled. And Philadelphia, that 
had sunken lowest in despondency of any of the great cities, 
naturally rose highest when the word of victory came. Bells 
rung, flags waved, music sounded, gas blazed like the noonday, 
processions paraded, business revived as if Trade had a human 
form and a crushing weight had suddenly been lifted from its 
breast, and old Independence Hall once more boomed its bell 



206 THE CO^VARD. 

and flashed over the city its midnight eye of fire, as if its 
defiance to tyranny and treason had never faltered for a 
moment. 

It was of Gettysburgh that Kitty Hood had been reading, 
at her little cottage home near the great road, after ner return 
from church on Sunday the fifth of July, when she dashed 
aw^ay the tears of agitation and anxiety that had been gather- 
ing in her eyes, and said : 

" Dick Compton was right, after all, and I was a fool to try 
to keep him awa}'- ! If he had obeyed me, I should have 
despised him now ; and if he has not been killed in that terri- 
ble battle and lives to come home again, I will tell him how 
wrong I was, and what a ninny I made of iny^^-If, and how 
Sony I am for every word I spoke that day, and hovv much 
better I love him because he obeyed the call of his country 
instead of the poor, weak, miserable voice of a frightened 
woman !" 

And it was of Gettysburgh and the desperate fighting 
around Cemetery Hill that Robert Brand had been reading, 
on the same Sunday afternoon, sitting in the shade of his own 
piazza, when he hurled out these bitter words, which poor 
little Elsie heard as she lay upon the lounge in the parlor 
within : , 

" This is what he has lost, the low-lived, contemptible pol- 
troon ! My son, and to shirk a great battle ! He might 
have been dead now, and in a grave better than any house in 
W'hich he can ever hide his miserable life ; or he might have 
had something to remember and boast of all his days — that 
he was one of the Men of Gettysburgh ! If I had two legs, 
1 would go out and find him yet and shoot him with my own 
hand — the infernal cowardl}^ cur!" 

And then the disgraced and irate father tried to forget his 
son and to bury himself in other details of the great battle. 

The sister did not reply aloud to her father's renewed 
objurgation. 3he merely sobbed a little and took from her 



THE COWARD. 207 

bosom a crumpled note and read it over again for perhaps the 
fiftieth time, muttering low as she did so : 

" Oh, father, father ! If you knew how far you would 
need to go to seek poor Carlton and make him even more 
miserable than he is, and how little chance you have of ever 
seeing him again while you live — perhaps you would not 
speak so cruelly of him." Then she kissed the crumpled note 
again and put it back into her bosom, and tried to compose 
herself once more to that sleep which the tropical heat invited 
and her aching heart forbade. 

From the tone of that letter, it would seem that Elsie had 
written to her brother, to his place of business in the city, 
when fully aware x)f the unreasonable indignation which 
moved her father, advising him not to risk serious personal 
insult by coming home until he should again hear from her, — 
and that he had replied, from a place much farther away, 
informing her of his intention to put seas between himself and 
the eyes of all who had looked upon his disgrace. But better 
even this long separation — thought the young girl — than a 
return which would induce words between father and son, 
never to be forgiven or forgotten while either held life and 
memory. Years might mellow the recollection and change 
the feeling — years when the country should no longer make 
demands upon her children to breast the battle storm in her 
behalf, and when the eloquent voice in the halls of justice and 
the active, busy life in deeds securing the common welfare, 
might be sufficient to win new honor and blot away any 
recollection of that single sad misstep in the career of man- 
hood. Poor, gentle, loving, faithful little Elsie Brand ! — it 
may be long before we have occasion to look upon her again, 
and indeed she becomes henceforth but a comparative shadow ; 
80 let it be put upon record here that she seemed " faithful 
among the faithless" in practising the great lessons of hope 
and charity. The father might utter curses to be set down 
against his own soul in the day when human words as well 
as human actions must be called into judgment; friends mi^jht 



20S THE COWARD. 

look askance and enemies gloat over the disgrace of one who 
had before stood high above thera in all the details of honor- 
able character ; even the sweetheart, whose pulses had once 
beaten so close to his that the twin currents seemed flowing 
into one — even she might find some poor excuse of pride to 
falsify her by-gone boast that she loved him better than all 
the world, and let that hollow, w^ordy "honor" work their 
eternal separation : all this might be, but the sinter had no 
such license to waver in the course of her affection towards 
one who had been fondled by the same hands in babyhood 
and drawn sustenance from the same maternal bosom as her- 
self. And no treason, all this, to the truths and, the eternities 
of other loves. All other relations may sooner change than 
that which binds sister and brother, whose fondness has not 
been tainted by some falsehood in blood -or chilled by some 
wrong in education. Wife or mistress, yesterday cold, may 
be to-day throbbing with the most intense warmth of absorb- 
ing passion, and to-morrow chilled again by instability in 
herself or unworthiness in the object of her regard : even the 
mother, that tendcrest friend of song and story and sometimes 
of real life, may scatter her affections wide among so many 
children that each has but the pauper's share, or form new 
ties and forget that ever the old existed. But the brother, if 
he be not the veriest libel upon that sacred name, clings with 
undying fondness to the sister: and the sister, ever faithful, 
clings to the brother "through evil and through good report," 
when one or even both may have become a scoff and a bye- 
word in every mouth that opens to speak their names. 
Happy those men for whom the bond has never been either 
frayed or broken : sad for those who ever look back through 
the long years and see some sunny head of childhood hiding 
itself beneath the falling clods of the church-yard, that might 
have nestled closer to them in after years than all whom they 
have grasped, and cherished, and chilled, and lost ! 

It now becomes necessary to inciuire the whereabouts of 
Carlton Brand, the subject of so much sisterly love and so 



T H E C O W A R D. 1:09 

much fatherly indigiiatiou, at that second period when Get- 
tysburgh was a glorious novelty, its bloody splendors Hashing 
broad over the loyal States. And those whereabouts may 
very readily be discovered. On the register of the Fifth 
Avenue Hotel, in the city of Now York, his name had been 
inscribed on the Wednesday evening previous to Gettysburgh 
(the first day of July) ; and those among cur readers who 
may have chanced to be sojourners at the Fifth Avenue during 
that week, and who will take the trouble to read over again 
the close and accurate description given of the lawyer on his 
first appearance in the presence of his sister and Margaret 
Ilayley, in the second chapter of this narration, may not find 
much difficulty in remembering the appearance of so marked 
a man at the hotel ^t that period — the glances of admiration 
cast upon his handsome face and manly figure as he sat at 
table or moved quietly among the ever-changing crowd in the 
reading-room or down the long halls — the almost total silence 
which he maintained, seeming to have no acquaintances or to 
be anxious for escape from all conven-ation — his inquiring 
more than once every day at the office for letters which con- 
tinually disappointed him— and the expression of drooping- 
eyed melancholy in face and restless unquiet in movement, 
which gave rise to many side remarks and led to many sin- 
gular speculations. 

He was alone — at least alone at the hotel ; and Dr. Pomeroy, 
if he had entertained any actual belief in his suggested elope- 
ment between the lawyer and his " ward," might easily have 
satisfied himself, had he followed him to the commercial me- 
tropolis, that no such elopement had taken place or that the 
abductor had hidden his paramour carefully away and man- 
aged to keep continually out of her presence. 

Something indescribably dim and shadowy grows about the 
character and action of Carlton Brand at this time ; and the 
writer, without any wish or will to do so, yields to the neces- 
sity, very much as the proud man of the world yields to the 
pressure when events which he has assumed to direct grow 
13 



210 THE COWARD. 

too mighty for his liand and bear him au^aj in their rush and 
tumult, — or as a father — to use a yet stronger and more pain- 
ful image — submits with a groan and a prayer when the child 
of his dear luve shuts the heart again.st him and breaks away 
from that tender control which it has been alike his duty and 
liis pleasure to supply. Some of our n ental children, espe- 
cially when they are so real that time, ph ce and circumstance 
cannot be made for them at will, are s idly unmanageable ; 
and this instance furnishes an illustration which will be better 
nuderstood at a later period. Acts n ly yet be recorded,, 
while yet acts remain to record ; but the heart closes, motives 
become buried in obscurity, and the nirrator grows to be 
little more than a mere insignificant, povv'erless chroniclrr of 
events without connection and actions Without expl'iuation. 

Taking up his quarters at the Fifth Avenue Hotel on 
Wednesday, this man, on Friday, the third of July, while the 
city was in agonized anxiety over the conflicting accounts of 
Meade's first battle of the day before, and while the black 
frames for the Fourth of July fireworks were being erected 
in front of the City Hall in the Park, with some uncertainty 
in the minds of the workmen whether they would not be used 
for a pyrotechnic display over the death-throe of the nation, — 
this man, Carlton Brand, took one of the omnibuses of the 
Fifth Avenue line passing the door of his hotel, alighted at 
the corner of Fulton Street and Broadway, walked down 
to the Bowling Green and entered the office of the Cunard 
Steamships fronting that faded relic of the Colonial splendors 
of New York. When he emerged from the office, fifteen 
minutes later, the cash-box of the British and North Ameri- 
can Royal Mail Steamship Company was the richer by many 
broad pieces of American gold, and Carlton Brand bore, folded 
avv'ay in his wallet, one of those costly little pearl-white wings 
on W'hich the birds of passage bear themselves over the At- 
lantic. It was evident that he was about to desert his 
countrv — that country for which he had before refused to 



THE COWARD. 211 

figlit, — to dosert it at the very moment when its fate before 
God and the world seemed to bang trembling in the balance. 

Coming out from the office of the Steamship Company, ap- 
parently wooed by the breeze from the North River, the 
lawyer bent his steps in that direction as if intending to make 
the tour of the shipping at the piers and resume his convey- 
ance at some point higher up the town. Past two or three of 
the piers ; and the dense black smoke pouring out from the fun- 
nels of one of the transport steamers on the eve of departure 
for the South with troops and munitions, seemed to attract 
his attention. He walked down the dock and observed more 
closely the movements on and around the vessel. The black 
smoke still rolled out, and steam was hissing from the escape- 
valves. Heavy wagons were discharging boxes at the gang- 
way, and with much puffing and clatter a donkey-engine was 
hoisting them on board. A marine stood at the plank, bayo- 
netted musket on shoulder, and close behind him an officer. 
To the civil inquiry of the lawyer, how long before the 
steamer would sail, the sentry replied that she was then 
steaming-up and would probably leave within a few hours ; 
and to a request to be allowed to come on board and see the 
arranjrements of a government transport on the eve of sailing, 
the officer, after a moment's glance at the unimpeachable dress 
and appearance of the visitor, assented with the stately bow 
of his profession. 

It certainly seemed strange that on that blazing day, when 
his errand at the Hudson side of the city had been to inhale 
the cool breeze from the river, Carlton Brand, within a mo- 
ment after stepping on board the transport, should have 
ignored all the details of decks, spars, cabins, and even ma- 
chinery, and descended the narrow stairways, little more than 
ladders, leading down to those flaming intestines of the sliip 
from which the hot air crept up through the companion-ways 
like breaths from some roasting and agonized monster. Yet 
so it was ; and regardless alike of the heat which fevered his 
Jips and the greasy rails upon which he soiled his gloves and 



218 THE C ^^' A li d; 

risked the smirching of his spotless summer garments, the 
lawyer pressed down to the fire-room, whore the stokers were 
sweating great drops of perspiration tljat rolled down like 
beads from their broiled foreheads — where the coal was 
rattling and crashing as it was thrown forward, then crackling 
and hissing at its first contact with the flame, as it was dashed 
into the midst of the sweltering furnaces. Down, until he 
stood before those mighty furnaces and caught blinding 
glimpses, as the firemen momentarily opened the doors to 
dash in still other tons of the crackling coal of what seemed 
little less than a ship's-cargo of the fuel, seething, raging and 
lowirg in such a heat that it made the old fancy of the lower 
pit no longer a dream but a horrible present reality. 

"Terrible work for hpt weather, I should think," said the 
lawyer, when the shovels were still for a moment and the 
great fires raged, roared and crackled within. He seemed to 
feel the necessity of saying something to do away w^^h the 
impression of his being a sulky intruder, — and was addressing 
one of the bronzed old stokers who had paused to wipe from 
his grimy brovv^ the sweat that was actually pouring into his 
eyes and blinding him. 

" Yes, hot enough while we are lying at the dock," an- 
sw red the stoker. 

" Why hotxer now than at any other time ?" asked the 
lawyer, who had probably never happened to study that pe- 
culiar philosophy, simply because he had never been thrown 
into contact with it. 

" Why ? oh, Lord bless you ! — because we are lying still, 
now, and there is no draught. When we are going through 
the water, and of course through the air, the motion makes a 
draught and we do not more than /?a// roast." 

" Then it never gets very cool down here ?" was the nest 
inquiry. 

" Not very .^" answered the fireman, sententiously. " But 
we never have the worst of these hot fires," he continued, 



THE COWARD. 213 

answenne: somethinn^ that had not been spoken but that 
seemed to be in the face of his auditor. 

'' Who then ?" 

" The passengers — at least some of them — on board any 
steamer that carries them over sea or down the coast." 

" You mean when they — when the steamers take fire and 
burn ?" The question was asked in what seemed to be a 
hurried and troubled voice ; and had not the reflected glow 
from the furnace made every thing red under its light, there 
might have been seen a face of ghastly white contrasting with 
the dark and grimy one so near. 

"No !" and the stoker laughed. "I did not mean that — 
only the thought of it. Steamers do not burn very often — 
not half so often as I should think they would, the way they 
are built, and with a w^hole Pennsylvania coal-mine on fire 
inside of them at once. When they do go, though, they 
make things howl ! No slow burning, as there is sometimes 
on sailing-vessels, so that they can batten down the hatches 
and keep :he fire under until there is a chance of help : every 
thing g0:;s in a moment, and all is over in an hour — iron 
steamer or wood, very little difference." 

*' Horrible !" said the lawyer. • The word seemed forced 
from him, and there could not be a doubt that he was at the 
moment fancying some terrible reality. 

"Yes, horrible enough!" answered the stok r. "But 
what I was speaking of, is the foolish habit that passengers 
have — I have seen it often in crossing the Atlantic — of coming 
down into the fire-room very soon after they start, and ta'dng 
a look at the furnaces. A good many of them never slet r; a 
wink afterwards, during the whole voyage, I believe, think- 
ing of that mass of red-hot coal lying in the middle of t^.-e 
ship, and wondering wJien she is going to burn. They are 
fools to come down at all : if they would jnst keep out of the 
way they would never know how badly it looks, and then at 
least they would never be burned until their time came I" 

Just then the raging monster within seemed to demand 



214 THE COWARD. 

more blazing food, and the stoker turned away to attend to 
his duty. Had be remained conversing one moment longer, 
he might have seen Carlton Brand totter back against the 
bulk-head of the fire-room, literally gasping for breath — then 
grapple for the railing of the stairs, and ascend the steps 
with the staggering motion of a sick or drunken man, breath- 
ing heavily and giving painful indications of being on tho 
verge of falling insensible. 

When the lav^yer again emerged to the air of the deck, his 
face was ghastly white, and he seemed altogether strangely 
altered since the moment of his descent into those regions of 
fire and grime and terrible suggestion. What had so changed 
him ? — the heafe, choking his lungs and preying upon a frame 
unaccustomed to it ? — or had the curse of his nature again 
found him out, in the low of the furnaces and the heedless 
conversation of the fireman ? and did he remember that 
between himself and even that flight beyond the sea which 
only could shut out from his ears the voice of contempt and 
the cry of a neglected country, there yet lay the peril of the 
Amazon and the Austria ? 

This ocL;irred on Friday the third of July ; and between 
that day and the Sunday fcJllowing there was nothing in the 
movements of the sojourner at the Fifth Avenue, worthy of 
special record. But on that Sunday afternoon, perhaps at 
the very hour when Kitty Hood, in one spot of that section 
of country which had been his old home, was ulorying over 
her lover's having been at Gettysburgh, — and when Robert 
Brard, in another, was writhing and cursing over the absence 
of his son from the same great battle, — an incident took place 
at the hotel, apparently trivial, but which may subsequently 
be found to have exercised no slight influence on the fortunes 
of some of the difterent persons named in this chronicle. 
Unfortunately, again, over this little event hangs a mist and 
a shadow, and only slight glimpses can be obtained of what 
afterwards proved to he of such unsuspected importance. 

On that Sundav afternoon, at about two o'clock, Carlton 



THE COWARD. 21L' 

Brand went down from his room to the office of the hotel, to 
exchange a few words with the clerk, and to secure one of the 
battle-extras which he had just heard from his window cried 
in the street. Knots of men, guests, or passers-by, driven in 
by the pouring rain without, filled the long hall, every third 
holding a newspaper, every group in more or less animated 
conversation, and the one topic that great conflict which had 
just bloomed out into a great victory. The lawyer seemed 
to have company enough in his own thoughts, and did not 
join any of the groups. He secured his extra, transacted his 
brief business at the desk, and returned immediately up- 
stairs. The moment after he had left the desk, a young man 
advanced from one of the groups near th& door, asked a 
question of the clerk, was answered, overran a few pages of 
the register with eye and finger, and then passed up-stairs 
under the guidance of a servant. 

Carlton Brand had already thrown off coat and boots again, 
and was sitting at the open window in dressing-gown and 
slippers, glancing over the sensation-headings of the extra 
which gave the particulars of the Waterloo of Secessia, — 
when there was a tap at the door. Stepping hastily thither 
and opening it, with a muttered wonder why he could not 
be left alone to his reading, a weil-known figure stepped into 
the room and one of his Philadelphia bar-intimates — perhaps 
the nearest to a confidential friend in the whole profession, 
took him by the hand. For an instant the occupant of the 
room seemed to be displeased at the intrusion and an expres- 
sion of annoyance flitted over his face ; but old friendship 
was evidently too powerful even for shame and lacerated 
feeling, and the next instant he had cordially returned ibe 
grasp. 

The new-comer, strangely enough, bore no slight resem- 
blance to Carlton Bund. We z?j stranfrely, because the 
lawyer was by no means such a person, in general appear- 
ance, as could be readily duplicated. Henry Thornton, his 
professional brother, had the same tall, lithe figure with 



216 THE COWAK D. 

evidence of great agility, the same mould of countenance in 
many respects, and with eyes of hazel only a shade darker 
than Brand's. But here the resemblance, which might other- 
wise have been extraordinary, became slighter and eventually 
disappeared. His complexion was much darker, even brown, 
from chin to forehead, indicating Southern blood or residence. 
His hair, curling a little, was of very dark brown, almost 
black ; and his heavy moustache, the only beard he wore, 
was so nearly black as generally to pass under that designa- 
tion. In spite of the similarity of form and feature, it may 
be imagined that these differences told very strongly on the 
general effect produced by the two men on the mere casual 
observer; and \yhile there was that indefinable something in 
the face of Carlton Brand, to which attention has before 
been called, denoting intellect and true nobility of soul, 
accompanied by an occasional pitiable weakness or want of 
self-assertion of the full manhood, there was that quite as 
plainly to be read in the face of Henry Thornton, which told 
of dauntless courage and iron will, a brain busy and scheming 
if not even plotting, and powers which might not always be 
turned to the service of the candid, the open and the honor- 
able. Lavater would have thought, looking at his face — 
Well for him and for the world if what he wills is in conso- 
nance with honor and justice, for what he wills he will 
pursue with the unfaltering courage of the lion and the 
untiring determination of the sleuth-hound ! 

But Nature, giving to these two men who held no known 
relationship whatever, so striking a resemblance in some 
particulars and so great a dissimilarity in others — had not 
quite ended her freak of comparison. It is doubtful whether 
either was fully aware of the fact, but the similarity between 
the tones of their voices, in ordinary times, was quite as 
marked as that between certain physical features ; and any 
person standing that day without the door, when the two 
had entered into conversation, might have been puzzled to 
know whether two persons were really speaking or one was 



THE COWARD. 217 

carrying on a monologue. This, only at ordinary times : 
Thornton's voice was much steadier and more uniform under 
feeling, and it never broke into tones so low and melancholy 
as that of the other, when influenced by temporary depression. 

Such was Carlton Brand's visitor on that Sunday after- 
noon, and he it was who but the moment after was seated 
in the proffered chair near the window and chatting upon 
current topics with as much nonchalance as if he had merely 
called upon his entertainer at his little office on Sixth Street, 
Philadelphia, instead of visiting him at a hotel in a distant 
city. 

There was a little table standing between the two windows 
of the room and within reach of Thornton as he sat. On the 
table lay part of that miscellaneous collection of articles 
which every careless bachelor will persist in scattering about 
his room at the hotel ; and at the edge of what may be called 
the pile lay a paper more than half unfolded, which caught 
the observant eye of the visitor. With a quick : " Will you 
allow me ?" which brought an affirmative response, he reached 
over, took up the paper, unfolded it and read a receipt for a 
first cabin passage in the Gunard Mail Steamship to sail from 
New York to Liverpool, on the 8th July, for which $130.50 
had been paid by Mr. Carlton Brand. 

"The Cunarder for Liverpool next Wednesday," he said, 
when he had finished running his eye over the passage-ticket. 

" Yer," answered the owner, and he answered nothing 
more. 

A ctrange expression passed over the face of his interroga- 
tor — an expression so doubtful that even Lavater, or any 
other man pretending to read the human coun^enance like an 
open book, might have been puzzled to say vvhether it con- 
^veyed pleasure, scorn, wonder, or any one of the thousand 
different feelings whose outward show glints over our faces 
a- often and as transiently as the cloud-shadows fl mating over 
the mountain woods or the mottled sunshine flickering over 
the wheat-fields. There was something there — something 



218 THE COW A ED. 

which the other did not appear to notice ; and with that 
fact we must be content. 

Five minutes later, Carlton Brand, through the medium of 
words growing out of the discovery of the passage-ticket, 
was in confidential conversation with Henry Thornton with 
reference to the disgrace which had driven him from home 
and must make him an exile for years if not forever. It may 
have been a serious weakness, tow^ards one who had never 
been even on terms of speaking acquaintance with her, to 
talk to him of Margaret Hayley and to confess the shameful 
dismissal which he had received. But Henry Thornton knew 
of the Hay leys if he did not claim an acquaintance with 
them ; he had it in his power to impart information of them 
and their probable movements during the summer, which the 
other might have found difficulty in obtaining through any 
other means ; and perhaps that knowledge gave some excuse 
for reciprocal confidence. At all events that confidence was 
given, and it elicited a return of apparently equal candor. 
Before the separation took place, at the end of an interview 
which lasted more than an hour, a strange bond seemed to 
have been established and cemented betw^een the two lawyers, 
very different from any which official intercourse can often 
river. That interview, in fact, appeared to have pre luced 
marked effects upon both, for while on the face of Henry 
Thornton, as he rose to take his farewell, there was a look of 
entire satisfaction that v^ould not have been without a meaning 
more or less creditable, — there was in the eye of Carlton 
Brand less of that troubled expression which had been for 
days resting there like a shadow, and he breathed as if a 
w^eight had been lifted from his breast. To one this new 
satisfaction and lightness of heart may have been no false 
presage : to the other, w^hat an omen of unsuspected evil, dis- 
aster and death ! 

They parted at the door of the lawyer's room, with a much 
warmer grasp of the hand than that w:'h which they had met 
little more than a hour before ; and each held the palm of the 



THE COWARD. 219 

other ill his for a moment, as those should do who have how- 
ever slight a bond in common and between whom the waves 
of a whole wia? o^ean are so soon to roll. 

"A pleasant voyage and a happy return I" said the one, on 
the threshold. 

"A pleasant summer to you, wherever you are !" was the 
reply of the other. 

So parted, after that brief meeting, Henry Thornton and 
Carlton Brand. The bearer of that latter name, once so 
honored but now holding so doubtful a position, left New 
York by the Cunarder Scotia from Jersey City on Wednesday 
the 8th of July, looking his last that evening from the deck 
of bis steamer, on the dim blue line of the Highlands — a 
fading speck of that native land that the fates had ordained 
he should never see again with his living eyes ! And as at this 
moment we lose sight of him for the time, to trace the for- 
tunes of others remaining on this side of the Atlantic, it may 
be well to say that his outward voyage must have been a safe 
and prosperous one, for there was duly registered as having 
arrived at Liverpool, on the twentieth of July, (a date which 
it may afterwards be important to remember) " Carlton Brand, 
Philadelphia." 



CHAPTER XI. 



Anomalies op the War for the Unton — The Watering- 
place RUSH OF 1863 — A White-Mountain Party disem- 
barking at Littleton — Who filled the Concord Coach 
— The Yanderlyns— Shoddy ON its travels — Mr. Brooks 
Cunninghame and his Family — " H. T.," and an Ex- 
citement. 

The War for the Union has been unlike all other great 
struggles, throughout, in nearly every characteristic that can 



220 THE COWARD. 

be named. Unnatural in its inception, the rebellion has 
seemed to have the power of making unnatural many of the 
details through which and in spite of which it has been car- 
ried forward — of changing character and subverting all ordi- 
nary conditions. There have been anomalies in the field : 
still more notable anomalies in society. Unflinching bravery 
and stubborn devotion to the fighting interests of the country 
have been found blended, in the same man, with pecuniary 
dishonesty which seemed capable of pillaging a death-cham- 
ber. The greatest military ability has been found conjoined 
with such inactivity and tardiness as to paralyze action and 
destroy public patience. Rapidity of movement has been 
discovered to be Avedded to such Utopian want of under- 
standing or such culpable recklessness as to make movement 
not seldom a blunder instead of a stroke of policy. Times 
which threatened disaster have brought triumph ; and the 
preparations made to celebrate a victory have more than 
once been employed in concealing a defeat. All things have 
been mixed in estimation. The Copperhead, detestable on 
account of his vievv of the national duty, has yet compelled 
some portion of respect by his real or affected reverence for 
a perilled Constitution ; the Radical, worthy of all credit for 
his active spirit and uncompromising position, has yet de- 
served contempt for a narrowness of view which made him 
almost as dangerous as disloyalty could have done ; and the 
Conservative, that man of the golden mean, that hope of the 
nation in many regards, has bargained for a part of the abuse 
which he has received from either extreme, by faulting the ac- 
tive measures of both and offering mean-while no active, prac- 
tical course to supply their stead. 

But amid the general anomaly perhaps fashionable (or 
would-be fashionaV)le) society, and the world of ease and 
amusement, have supplied the most interesting and the most 
astounding study of all. The status of the "non-productive 
classes" is and has been, during most of the struggle, literally 
inverted, and the conditions of costly enjoyment have been 



THE COWARD. 221 

changing as rapidly as if we were rioting through a carnival 
instead of breasting a rebellion. No nation ever carried on 
such a war as that waged by this loyal people ; and no nation 
ever spent so much blood and treasure in accomplishing the 
same comparative results. Naturally, in view of the personal 
bereavement, it might have been expected that society should 
be quiet in its amusements and low-toned in all its conversa- 
tion : naturally, a people bleeding at every pecuniary pore for 
the public good, might have been expected to diminish per- 
sonal expenditure and husband those resources on the hold- 
ing-out of which so much must eventually depend. Instead 
of this, society, with the craped banners and the muffled 
drums every day appealing to eye and ear, has grown con- 
tinually louder in its tone and more pronounced and evea 
blatant in its mirth ; and reckless personal expenditure has 
quite kept place with any general waste that the highwaymen 
or incapables of government had power to entail. The 
theatre and the circus have never before been so full, the 
opera has never before been so generally patronized. Baby- 
lon could never have rioted more luxuriously on the very 
night before its fall, than have the people of our great cities 
dined, ridden, danced and bathed themselves in seas of costly 
music, any day since the first three months of the rebellion 
ended. 

Summer recreations have perhaps told quite as significant 
a story as any other feature, of the inevitable drift of society 
towards reckless expense and extravagant display. The 
summer resorts within the rebel territory may have grown 
desolate or deserted — the buildings of the White Sulphur 
and the Rockbridge Alum of Virginia may have been left 
empty or turned into hospitals, and Old Point may only have 
been visited for far other purposes than the meeting of the 
sea-breeze there in midsummer ; but a very different fate has 
awaited the favorite hot- weather resorts of the North. Sara- 
toga and Sharon of the chalybeates ; Niagara and Trenton of 
the cataracts ; the White Mountains, the Cattskills and the 



222 THE COWARD. 

Allcghanies, of the high, pure air and the cloud shadow; 
Kevvport, Rockaway, Long Branch and Cape May of the 
south-eastern breeze and the salt aroma, — all have been, with 
the exception of a few frightened weeks of 1861, more densely 
filled during the war than at any former period in the memory 
of the pleasure-seeker ; and wealth and enjoyment have both 
run riot there to an extent but little in accordance with the 
sack-cloth and ashes which the observant eye saw all the 
while lying on the head of the nation itself. All this may 
have been inappropriate and a part of it painful ; but the 
result could not well have been otherwise. Some, with 
wealth honestly earned and no capacity for the public ser- 
vice, have needed rest or distraction and there found one or 
the other. Habitual idlers and professional students of 
society, never available for any other purpose, have naturally, 
a.s ever, found there their best ground of personal study. 
Young girls have needed the experience, and managing mam- 
mas have quite as sorely needed those fields for matrimonial 
campaigns. Invalids have needed their real or supposed op- 
portunity for the recovery of lost health. Shoddy, grown 
suddenly rich while remaining incurably ignorant and vulgar, 
and finding it no easy task to force its way into the coveted 
" society" in the great cities, has eagerly welcomed the op- 
portunities there afforded for at least learning the rudiments 
of what is called gentility, and creeping into that miscel- 
laneous outer circle which surrounds the charmed inner. 
Politicians have found it necessary to do, in such places, that 
particular portion of the great task of boring, button-holing, 
prying and packing which cannot be so well done either at 
the primary election or the convention as around the spring 
or on the b.ach — on the piazza of the Ocean House or the 
United States ; and oflBcers on furlough, who had fought 
enough for the time or had no intention to fight at all, have 
found no places like these for displaying jaunty uniform and 
decorated shoulder to the admiring eyes of that sex which 
descends from Athena and recognizes the cousinship of Mars. 



THE COArARD. 223 

Add to all this the rise of exchange on Europe and the folly 
of steamship companies in charging gold rates for passages 
abroad, which have together almost checked the summer 
exodus to the Old AYorld, — and there is no longej reason to 
wonder at the watering-place crowds and the summer gayeties 
which have made carnival throughout the loyal States and 
lilled the wallets of enterprizing landlords. 

The year of grace 1863 saw an earlier beginning to the 
summer hegira than any other late year had done, as before 
its close it saw houses over-crowded, waiters over-worked, 
and cots at a premium, from Casco to Cresson. The smoke 
had not yet rolled away from Gettysburgh when " the great 
North River travelling- trunk" began its perambulations ; and 
by the middle of July everybody who was anybody (except a 
few in the city of New York, temporarily frightened or hin- 
dered by the riots) wa^ gone from the great cities, and they 
were given over to the temporary occupancy of those laboring 
starlings who could not ''get out," and the ever ebbing and 
flowing wave of transient visit. 

All this as a necessary reminder of the period and a back- 
ground to the incidents so soon to follow^, — and because the 
course of narration, at this juncture, leads us for a time to one 
of the favorite shrines of American summer pilgrimage and 
into the whirl of that literal storm of fashion and curiosity 
which eddies and sweeps, all summer lung, around the peaks 
of the White Mountains— the Alps of Eastern America. 

It was a somewhat varied as well as extensive crowd of 
passengers that disembarked from the cars of the White 
Mountain Railroad at Littleton, in sight of the IVead-waiers 
of the Connecticut, about five o'clock on Wednesday after- 
noon, the 29th of July. The dog-days had begun ; New 
York, Philadelphia and Boston were steaming furnaces, though 
partially emptied as we have before had occasion tc notice ; 
and those who had already visited them during the month, 
declared that neither Saratoga, the Cattskills, or even Lake 
George or Niagara, had the power to impart any coolness to 



224 THECOWAKD. 

suffering humanity. The sea-shore or the northern mountains 
offered the only alternative ; and a very heavy list of passen- 
gers had come up that day by the Norwich and Worcester 
line from New York, the Boston lines falling in at Nashua 
Junction, and the Vermont Central throwing in its reinforce- 
ment at Wells River. 

Every portion of the loyal States (and no doubt a portion 
of the disloyal, if the truth could have been known !) had 
seemed to be represented in the crowd that thronged the 
platforms while lighting for a mouthful of lunch at Nashua 
Junction or crowding in to a hurried dinner at the poor sub- 
stitute for the burned Pemigawasset House at Plymouth. 
There were even half a dozen resident Europeans — English, 
Scotch, with one Frenchman who snuffed continually, and one 
Spaniard who smoked in season and out of season — people 
who had no doubt rushed over to see the " American war/' 
but very soon found the South too hot for comfort, in one 
sense or the other, — among the number destined to add vari- 
ety to the overfilled caravanserais of the Franconia and White 
ranges. A few had dropped aw^ay at Weir's Landing, for a 
day or two on Lake Winnipiseogee, enticed by the pleasant 
loom of Centre Harbor down the bright blue water and the 
romantic figure of the Lady of the Lake on the prow of her 
namesake steamer; and a few more had left the train at 
Plymouth for the long coach-ride of thirty miles through the 
mountains to the Glen House, or by the southern approach to 
the Profile or the Crawford. Two or three stage-loads, too, 
who had but one thought in their pilgrimage — Mount Wash- 
ington, — were bustling in for the immediate ride from Little- 
ton to the Crawford ; but there were still four heavy stage- 
loads — not less than forty to fifty persons — going on to the 
crowded Profile House that evening. 

Some of the occupants of one of those heavy stages, rolling 
away towards the Profile, require, for the purposes of this 
narration, a somewhat closer view than was probably taken 



THE COWARD. 225 

of them by many of their fellow-passengors ; and that view 
cannot be more appropriately taken than at this moment. 

On the back seat of that vehicle sat two ladies, with a 
troublesome boy of ten years wedged in between them as if 
to come the nearest possible to getting him out of the way. 
Neither paid the youngster that attention which would have 
indicated that he belonged to them or was travelling in their 
company; and indeed they had every right as well as every 
inclination to wash their bands of his relationship if they 
could not wash from their travelling-dresses the marks of his 
taflfy-smeared fingers. The two ladies were evidently mother 
and daughter ; and at least one person in the coach had re- 
marked them as they came up from Concord, and seen that 
their sole chaperon and protector seemed to be a son of the 
one and brother of the other, some eighteen or twenty years 
of age. As he saw them then and "as he afterwards better 
knew them, they may be briefly described. 

The Yanderlyns were Baltimoreans — the widow and chil- 
dren of a man of large wealth and considerable distinction, 
who had died three or four years before in that city, after 
having amassed a fortune by property speculations and sub- 
sequently filled more than one responsible office under the 
State government. They had the true Southern pride in 
wealth and position ; and the hand of the daughter had al- 
ready been sought, however ineffectually, by scions of the best 
families in and about the Monumental city. Let it be added 
that they belonged, whatever may have been their pride and 
arrogance as a family, to the not-too-extensive class of loyal 
Marylanders,— and then a better title of nobility will have 
been enrolled than any that Clayton Yanderlyn's money and 
former public employments had power to supply. The 
widowed mother and her children were among the few resi- 
dents below Mason and Dixon's line who had not forgotten 
the pleasant summer days of old in the North, when Puritan 
and Cavalier met as friends and brothers ; and this summer 
14 



226 THE COWARD. 

tour, which was to include Saratoga and Newport before it 
closed, was a result of the old recollection. 

Mrs. Yanderlyn, the mother, seemed forly-fiv^e, but wa3 
fine-looking and had evidently been handsome in her youth — 
with those splendid broTMi eyes that must then have sparkled 
so much more brilliantly than at this period, and that perfect 
wealth of chestnut hair, not yet in the least sprinkled with 
gray, which must then have been a charm and a glory. Her 
travelling-dress was very plain, but of the best materials ; 
and eveiy thing in her appearance— especially pride of look 
and action, — spoke of wealth, the habit of mingling in that 
indefinable but actual thing, good society, and a perfect con- 
sciousness of what she was and what she possessed. Those 
who looked twice upon Mrs. Yanderlyn, with keen eyes, had 
no difiSculty in deciding that she might be a very pleasant 
acquaintance for those in her own " set" and whom she con- 
sidered her equals, — but that she would be any thing but a 
pleasant acquaintance for those whom she despised or with 
whom she chanced to fall into feud. 

Clara Yanderlyn, the daughter, was a yet more interesting 
study than her mother ; and it seemed altogether probable 
that the same observer before mentioned, and who will be 
hereafter more particularly introduced, coming up in the same 
car from Xa.shua and again thrown into near proximity in the 
coach, had read and was reading that second page of the 
Yanderlyn genealogy with peculiar care and attention. She 
was of middle height ; slight, but well-rounded and evidently 
elastic in figure, with a clearly cut but very pleasant face, 
eyes a shade darker than Mrs. Yanderlyn's, and hair what 
that lady's had probably been twenty years before. A won- 
derful feature, indeed, was that head of hair — fine, silken, but 
perfectly massive in profusion, with more of a tendency to 
the wave than the curl, and of that rich golden chestnut or 
true auburn so seldom seen though so often lauded. At the 
first observation, it seemed that Clara Yanderlyn's hair was 
the great charm of her presence ; but those who had the good 



THK COWARD. 227 

fortune to bo many liours in her company, learned that a still 
stronger and more abiding charm lay in the affability of her 
manners, the expression of thorough goodness in her whole 
demeanor, and the purity and sweetness of her smile. That 
f ice was certainly worthy of the fixed gaze which had rested 
upon it quite as often during the afternoon as delicacy per- 
mitted ; and it might even have furnished excuse for glancing 
at it a moment too long, and planting blushes on those cheeks 
that the lip could have no hope of gathering. 

The third and youngest of the family, Frank Yanderlyn, 
did not enter into the group under observation, as he was at 
that time on the top of the coach with half a dozen others, 
enjoying the cigar which had been impossible in the passenger- 
car. But the glimpses caught of him before disembarking, 
may suffice to complete the family triad. He seemed a well- 
grown stripling, verging upon manhood, with a face distantly 
reminding the observer of his sister's, but with darker hair 
than either Mrs. Yanderlyn or Clara, and with an expression 
of settl'ed hauteur upon his well-cut features, which very much 
detracted from the charm of a face that would otherwise have 
])een singularly handsome. He was dressed a little too well 
for dusty travel, and wore more wealth in a single diamond 
in his cravat and a cluster-ring on the little finger of his right 
hand, than most young men would have been either able or 
willing to devote to such purposes of mere ornament. 

This description of the occupants of that singularly-fortu- 
nate coach may have very little interest beyond that of a 
mere catalogue ; yet it must be continued, for Fate, that grim 
old auctioneer who sometimes knocks us down at very low 
prices and to odd owners, may have some necessity for a 
mercantile list of his chattels. 

The occupants of the middle seat were three in number, 
and they could have furnished any needed information as to 
the personality of the troublesome boy with the tafified fingers, 
who had been wedged between Clara Yanderlyn and her 
mother. All of one familv — that second triad : Mr. Brooks 



228 THE COWARD. 

Cunninghame, Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame, and Miss Marianna 
Brooks Cunninghame. The first, a squat man of fifty-five, 
with a broad, coarse, beardless face, bad teeth and bristly 
gray hair just sufi'ering under its first infliction of slaty-brown 
hair-dye. His large hands had been all day cased in kid 
gloves, spite of the heat of the weather ; and his gray suit, 
of really fine material, had a sort of new look, and did not 
seem to be worn easily. There was an impression carried 
about by the man and disseminated at every movement, that 
an6ther and a much shabbier suit hung immediately behind 
his bed-room door at home, and that in that he would have 
been easy and comfortable, while in the fashionable garb he 
was laboring under a sort of Sunday-clothes restraint. The 
second, a stout woman of fifty, with reddish hair, a coarse 
pink face, high cheek bones and" pert nose, corresponding well 
with her lord in conformation, while it wore an expression of 
dignity and self-satisfaction to which the countenance of that 
poor man could not have made the least pretension. She 
was only a Utile overdressed, for travelling — her bonnet of fine 
straw too much of a flower-garden for her years, a heavy gold 
watch-chain with the watch prominent, a diamond breastpin 
flashing hotly, and her voluminous blue lawn of costly fabric 
partiall}' covered by a long gray mantle which must have 
been recommended to her by some mautua-maker with a 
"spasm of sense." But if there was any restraint in the 
make-up of Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame, that restraint was 
fully compensated by the gorgeousness of the general arrange- 
ment of Miss Marianna. That young lady of thirty, with a 
large mouth, sandy hair, bluish gray eyes and freckles, a 
dumpy figure and no eye-brows whatever, was arrayed — . 
shade of Madame La Modiste forgive us while we pen the 
record — arrayed'' for that hot and dusty day of railroad and 
coach riding, in a rich pink silk flounced and braided to the 
extreme of the current fashion ; with a jockey leghorn and 
white feather which — well, we may say with truth that they 
relieved her face ; with a braided mantle of white merino that 



THE COWARD. 229 

might have been originally designed for an opera-cloak ; 
white kid gloves in a transition state ; and such a profusion 
of gold watch, gold chain, enamelled bracelet, diamond cluster- 
breastpin, costly lace, and other feminine means of attracting 
admiration and envy, that the brain of a masculine relator 
reels among the chaos of finery and he desists in despair. 
The fourth of this family was Master Brooks Brooks Cunning- 
hame, cetat ten, wedged in between the two aristocratic rep- 
resentatives of the A^anderlyn exclusiveness, and the freckles 
on his coarse little face and hands about equally balanced by 
the dauby debris of more or less hardened taify to which al- 
lusion has before been unavoidably made. 

This group (the fact may as well be set down in this place 
as at any later period) — this was Shoddy on its summer tour. 
Mr. Brooks Cunninghame had been, a considerable number of 
years before, Patrick B. Cunningham ; and his name had 
been scraw^led, many hundreds of times, to receipts for work 
done as a petty contractor about the streets of New York City, 
with one horse and a dirt-cart, digging out cellars, and help- 
ing to cart the dirt of pipe-layings and excavations. Grad- 
ually he had crept up to two carts, and then to three. Even- 
tually he had reached the employing of a dozen or two, with 
the bipeds that drove and the quadrupeds that drew them. 
By that time he had removed from his shanty of one story 
and rented a house. Then he had gone into ward politics 
and contracts with the city, at about the same time, and 
emerged into possession of a couple of brown-stone-front 
houses and a seat in the Board of Aldermen, at periods not 
very far apart. People said that the seat in the municipal 
board, with the "ring" performances (more or less clown-ish) 
thereunto appertaining, were made the means of increasing 
the two houses to four and of causing Mrs. Patrick B. Cun- 
ningham to forget the whole of her husband's first name and 
merely use the initials "P. B.," which might or might not 
stand for 'Polio Belvidere. Then had come the war, with 
that golden opportunity for all who stood prepared for it. 



230 THE COWARD. 

Mr. P. B. Cunningham bad been at that time the proprietor 

of some fifty or sixty frallant steeds used before dirt-carts, and 
his vigorous and patriotic mind had conceived the propriety 
of aiding the country by disposing of those mettled chargers 
as aids towards a first-class cavalry mount. He had sold, 
prospered, bought more dirt-cart and stage-horses with an 
admixture of those only to be discovered between the thills 
of clam-wagons, found no difficulty- in passing them as fit for 
the service, through the kindness of a friendly inspector who 
only charged two dollars per head for deciding favorably 
on the quadrupeds, — sold and prospered again and yet again. 
Mr. P. B. Cunningham had accordingly found himself, three 
months before the period of this narration, the lawful proprie- 
tor of half a million, acquired in the most loyal manner and 
without for one momont wavering in his connection with 
either Tammany Hatl, through which he managed the Demo- 
crats, or the Loyal League by which he kept in favor with 
the Republicans. 

So far Mr. P. B. Cunningham had been uninterruptedly 
successful — the monarch as well as architect of his own for- 
tune. But at that period (the three months before) he had 
suddenly been made aware that every man has his fate and 
the end of his career of supremacy. Mrs. P. B. Cunningham 
had proved herself his fate and put a sudden end to his 
supremacy. That lady, all the while emerging, had emerged, 
from the dust and darkness of lower fortune, and become a 
fashionable butterfly. She had ordered him to buy a four- 
story brown-stone front, finer than any that he owned, on one 
of the up-town streets not far from the Avenue ; and he 
had obeyed. She had ordered him to discard his old clothes, 
and he had obeyed again, though with a sincere reluctance. 
She had changed his name to Brooks Cunninghame, (observe 
the el) her own to Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame, that of Mary 
Ann to Miss Marianna Brooks Cunninghame, and that of the 
male scion of the house, cetat ten as aforesaid, to Master 
Brooks Brooks Cunninghame. The door-plate of the new 



THE COWARD. 231 

house could not be arranged in accordance with the new pro- 
gramme, for door-plates had been voted vulgar and abandoned 
by the creme de la creme ; but the family cards had been 
made to bear all the blushing honors in steel engraving and 
round-hand. This done, the requisite jewelry bought, and 
some other little arrangements perfected which may develop 
themselves in due time, the lady had informed Mr. Brooks 
Cunninghame that both the health and the dignity of tho 
family required summer recreation, and dragged him away on 
that tour of which w^c have the privilege of witnessing one of 
the progresses. 

Some reference has been made to the array, rather gorgeous 
than otherwise, of Miss Marianna, for dusty travel. A few 
words which had passed between the three heads of tho 
family at one of the Boston hotels that morning, may give a 
little insight into the philosophy of this arrangement. • Mr. 
Brooks Cunninghame, yet retaining a little of the common- 
sense of his dirt-cart days, had ventured to suggest that 
" Mary Ann mought wear her commoner duds to ride in,, for 
thim fineries 'ud be spiled before night wid the dust intirely ;" 
and Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame, alike indignant at a sugges- 
tion so smacking of low life and grieved to find that her 
husband w^ould persist in retaining a few touches of the 
brogue of wdiich she had cured herself and her children so 
triumphantly, — had answered with a sort of verbal two-edged 
Bword that did fatal execution on both the others : 

" Brooks Cunninghame, you'd better keep your mouth shut 
if you can't open it without letting out some of that low 
Irish ! One would think you drove a dirt-'cart yit ! And 
you, my dear" — to Marianna (the mother had been " posting 
herself in some of the phrases of "good society," as w^ell as 
in some other things which may also yet develop themselves) 
. — "you, my dear, put on the very best o' them things that 
you've got I Ain't we rich, I should like to know ? We 
may see a good many folks to-day, in them cars, and who 
knows whether you mightn't lose a beau that'd take a fancy 



232 THi: COWARD. 

to you, if you went slouchiu' around with your old things on ? 
Dress up, my dear !" 

Mt. Brooks Cunninghame had succumbed ; Miss Marianna 
had " dressed up," as per order ; and collective Shoddy was 
thus far on its way, without accident, towards the first halt- 
ing-place in the grand tour of the mountains. 

But what of the observer who has more than once before 
been mentioned, and who sat in the corner of the front seat, 
half buried under the voluminous skirts of two ladies who 
have nothing whatever to do with this narration, but looking 
so steadily (people who have habitually ridden in those 
Concord coaches know that the front is another back, and 
that the occupants of the front and back seats face each other) 
— looking so steadily, we say, at every permissible oppor- 
tunity, into the sweet face of Clara Yanderlyn ? He was a 
man of apparently thirty years of age, rather tall and very 
vigorous-looking even if slight, with curling dark hair, almost 
or quite black, and worn short, the face finely cut and showing 
no beard except a close, full moustache of raven blackness, 
the complexion (brow and all, as could be noticed when he 
lifted his hat from his head, as he often did, for coolness) of 
such a dark clear brown as to mark him of Southern birth or 
blood, clothes of thin dark gray material, with a round tourist 
hat and a duster, the small hands gloved in summer silk, and 
the whole appearance and manner that of a gentleman, used 
to good society, and very probably professional. He had 
been reading, nearly all the way up from Worcester, some 
of the other passengers noticed — though it must be confessed 
that a part of his reading had been over the top of the book 
at that attractive large type formed by a pretty human face ; 
and no blame is intended to be cast upon Clara Yanderlyn 
when we say that that young lady had more than once met 
the evidently admiring glance of so fine-looking a man, with 
the little tinge of color that was becoming, but without any 
expression upon her face or any thought in her mind, resent- 
ing any more than returning an admiration which she 



T il K COWARD. 255 

believed that she had a right to receive and any gentleman 
to pay thus respectfully. He had spoken but seldom, during 
the ride, in such a way that any person then present had 
heard him ; but once he had taken (or made) occasion to 
apologize to Miss Yanderlyn and her mother for being thrown 
against their seat by the motion of the car while walking 
through it, on the rough road when coming up from Ply- 
mouth to Wells river; and his few words, as the lady re- 
marked, consorted well with the respectability (to say the 
least) of his appearance. As to his personality, which there 
did not seem the slightest occasion for his wishing to dis- 
guise, there was a big black trunk in the baggage-wagon 
following behind the line of coaches, and a small satchel 
strapped over his shoulder as he rode ; and the first bore the 
initials " H. T." and the direction '*' Cincinnati." 

While so much attention has been paid to the occupants 
of that single coach, leaving the others and even the noisy 
passengers on the roof of this, unnoticed, the vehicles had 
been buzzing and clattering along over the table-land lying 
at the foot of the mountains, past the little hamlet of Fran- 
conia, and nearing the mountains themselves. A glorious 
July evening it was, with the fiery air which had been so 
oppressive below gradually cooled by the approach to the 
presence of the monarchs, and the smoke from the fires 
in the woods playing fantastic tricks among the peaks, and 
compensating for the absence of the clouds which sometimes 
enveloped them. Not half the passengers in those four 
stages had ever seen the mountains before ; and not one, even 
of those accustomed to such scenery, but felt the blood beat- 
ing a little quicker as the mountain road beyond Franconia 
was reached, and they began to 'experience those rapid 
ascents, and yet more rapid descents, which accompany 
thence all the way to the Notch, with grand old woods over- 
hanging, steep and sheer ravines at the side of the road that 
made the head dizzy in looking, reverential glimpses of the 
awful peaks of Lafayette and the Cannon frowning ahead, 



234 THK COWAKD. 

and of Washington, grander still, towering far away over tbe 
White range, and with all the other accompaniments of the 
finest mountain scenery on the Atlantic coast of the American 
continent. There was quite enough, indeed, to engage the 
attention of any except the most blase and ennuyee traveller, 
in the grandeur of the scenery and the excitement of being 
galloped in rocking, lumbering, four-horse coaches, down 
declivities of road which would have made a driver in any 
ordinar}^ hill-country draw tight rein and creep down with a 
heavy foot on the brake. 

Not a few nervous passengers, first or last, dashing up 
and down the slopes of the White Mountain roads, have 
been more or less frightened, and wished that they could be 
once more on terra firma without incurring the penalty of a 
laugh at their cowardice ; and in the present instance this 
little bit of locomotion was not to bo allowed to pass without 
an adventure. 

Half an hour from the foot of the mountain the coach went 
rapidly up a sharp ascent in the road, then dashed down again 
at full gallop, striking one of those necessary nuisances known 
as " breakwaters" when a few yards from the top, with a 
shock that sent the coach-body leaping on its leathern jacks 
like a yawl-boat in a heavy surf, made some of the outsiders 
on the top shout and hold on merrily to keep from being 
whirled off into one of the side-ravines, and created such a 
state of affairs inside the vehicle, generally, as effectually 
broke up the monotony. That shock drove the head of Mrs. 
Tanderlyn back against the leathern cushions with a force 
seriously damaging to the crown of her bonnet, brought a 
slight scream from Clara, who was frightened for the instant, 
made the troublesome Master Brooks Brooks yell and dash a 
dirty hand into the dress of each of the ladies who had the 
honor of the same seat, and elicited from Mrs. Brooks Cun- 
ninghame and her husband one of those brief but very signifi- 
cant marital displays which were no doubt afterwards to 
edify so many. Whether the lady had ascertained that fash- 



THE COWAKD. 235 

ionable people must always fall and faint under any sudden 
excitement, or whether the shock really frightened as well as 
unseated her, is a matter of no consequence : certain it is that 
she at that juncture threw up her hands and rolled up her 
eyes, gave one scream that degenerated into a groan, rolled 
from her seat and subsided into the bottom "of the coach, 
under the feet of " II. T.," in what seemed to be a fit of somo 
description. Miss Marianna, really alarmed, with the affec- 
tionate if not classic words, " Oh, mammy !" made a grab at 
that lady, clutching the back of her hat and tearing it from 
the head it crowned, while Master Brooks Brooks changed 
his yell into a howl and Mr. Brooks Cunninghame stooped 
down, terror in his face and his hands feeling around at the 
bottom of the vehicle for any portion of what had been his 
wife, with the affectionate but not politic inquiry: ''Is it kilt 
ye are, Bridget ?" 

Not politic ? — no, certainly not ! A stronger word might 
be applied without risk to the unfortunate expression. 
Among the changes in family polity not before indicated, 
had been an indignant throwing over of her very honest 
name of ''Bridget" by the wife of the horse-contractor, 
and the adoption of " Julia" in its stead. More than one 
curtain-lecture had poor Mr. Brooks Cunninghame endured, 
before leaving New York, on the necessity of avoiding any 
blunder in that regard, when they should be "away from 
home" ; and he had not escaped without severe drill and 
many promises of perfection in his part. And now to have for- 
gotten the adopted "Julia" and used the tell-tale "Bridget'^ 
at the very moment of the family's entering upon their first 
essay in fashionable watering-place life, was really a little 
too much for patience not entirely angelic. 

Both the poets and the romancers tell of cases in which 
some word of heart-broken affection, uttered at the instant 
when the death-film was stealing over the eyes of the beloved 
one, has had power to strike the dulled sense and call back 
for a moment the fleeting life when it had escaped far beyond 



236 THE COWARD. 

the reach of any other sound. Something of the same cha- 
racter — not quite so romantic, perhaps, but quite as real, — 
was developed in the present instance. The woman may 
have been falling into an actual faint ; but if so, that offen- 
sive word pierced through the gathering mists of insensi- 
bility, and she crawled out from the entanglement of legs 
before any effectual aid could be afforded her, and with such 
a look of contempt and hatred burning full upon her unfortu- 
nate husband that he must have felt for the moment as if 
placed directly under the lens of a sun-glass at focus. Mr. 
Brooks Cunninghame shrank into his number eleven patent- 
leathers, and Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame " swatted" herself 
(there is no other word in or out of the language that will 
quite so well express the act) down on the seat with an air 
that implied a wish for some one's head being beneath her at 
that juncture. Her glance had not at all softened, nor had 
" H. T." ceased looking out of the window or Clara Yander- 
lyn (behind her) yet taken her handkerchief from her mouth, 
when the female Cunninghame said, in what she thought 
very honeyed accents : 

" Mr. Brooks Cunninghame, I wish you would find some 
other time to go and call me nicknames, than when I am 
jolted out of ray seat in that way and a'most dead !" 

The stroke of policy was a fine one, and even the thick head 
of Mr. Brooks Cunninghame recognized the necessity of fol- 
lowing it up — an act which he performed thus gracefully and 
with a look intended for one of the staring ladies on the 
front seat : 

"Yes, mim, her name isn't Bridget at all at all, but Julia. 
It's only a bit of a way I have of jokin' wid her, mim !" 

This was satisfactory, of course — absolutely conclusive ; 
and so Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame grew mollified by degrees ; 
the redness which had come into the face of Miss Marianna 
gradually faded out; Master Bra|)ks Brooks Cunninghame 
took occasion to manifest his filial fondness by reaching over 
and hugging his mother with hands just re-coated with candy 



THK COWARD. 237 

dug out of his capacious pocket; and the Concord coach, 
with its consorts, rolled and jolted and swayed along, up and 
down the mountain road to its destination. 



CHAPTER XII. 



Landing at the Profile House — Halstead Rowan and 
Gymnastics — How that person saw Clara Yanderlyn 

AND BECAME A RiVAL OF " H. T." — ThE FuLL MoON IN 

THE Notch — Trodden Toes, a Name, a Yoice, and a 
Rencontre — Margaret Hayley and Capt. Hector Coles 
— The Old Man of the Mountain by Moonlight, and a 
Mystery. 

Spite of the sometimes rapid speed, the toil up the moun- 
tain had been long and tedious ; and dusk was very nearly 
falling and the chill of the coming evening was sufficient to 
induce the drawing close of mantles and wrappers that only 
two hours before had been reckoned an incumbrance, — when 
the coaches with their loads broke out from the overhanging 
woods on a steep down-grade, the passengers caught a glimpse 
of Echo Lake lying like a sheet of molten silver under the 
evening calm, and the whole cortege swept down at a gallop 
and with cracking of whips, to the broad, level plateau lying 
before the Profile House in the Franconia Notch. 

Two of the coaches had been in advance of that to which 
the attention of the reader has been particularly directed, and 
still other coaches had just come in from Plymouth, the Glen 
and the Crawford ; so that when they drew up to alight the 
long piazza of the Profile was filled with sojourners satisfying 
their curiosity or looking out for fresh arrivals ; and coach- 
men, servants and every employee of the establishment, 
were busy hauling down from the racks and boots where 



2i58 THE CO W A li D . 

thej had been stowed, immense piles of trunks, valises and 
every description of ba,2:gage that had not been entrusted to 
the van yet lumbering behind. Landlord Taft and superin- 
tendent Jennings were alert and busy; old comers were 
curious as to the number and nature of new arrivals ; new 
comers were glancing momentarily at the glorious scenery 
and anxiously inquiring every thing of everybody who knew 
no more of the things inquired about than did the askers 
themselves. All was charming bustle — delightful confusion : 
one of those peculiar scenes connected with summer travel 
and watering-place life, w^hich furnish the very best of op- 
portunities for study to the quiet observer. 

The coach door had been opened and all the inside passen- 
gers handed out, before the merry party from the roof made 
any attempt at getting down. Peal after peal of hearty 
laughter went up from that outside division of the vehicle ; 
and evidently the party there assembled had reached the 
Profile before achieving the end of the jests and story-telling 
in which they had been engaged. They had already attracted 
some attention from the piazza, and one boarding-school miss 
had been appealed to by her eye-glassed swain in attendance, 
to " heah those awful vulgah fellahs !" — when the laughter 
ceased, and one of the roof-passengers made a sudden spring 
from that elevation, over the heads of half a dozen of those 
standing on the ground, and came safely to his feet with a 
jerk which would have laid up a less perfect physical man 
for a week and completely shaken out the false teeth from the 
mouth of any victim of a dentist. 

The rapid man was followed by his companions, Frank 
Yanderlyn included among the number ; but they all seemed 
to choose the more popular mode of getting down, by the aid 
of steps and braces. 

"Pretty well done, Rowan !" exclaimed one of the others 
as he himself reached the ground. " Broke any thing ?" 

" Xo, nothing — except," and at that moment his eye caught the 
forms and faces of Miss Clara Yanderlvn and her mother, who 



THE COWARD, 289 

were standing at the edge of the piazza, waiting while Frank 
descended and made some arrangement for the disposition of 
their baggage. "IT. T.," of the coach-load, was standing 
within a few feet of them, his little satchel still strapped over 
his shoulder and his eyes scarcely wandering at all from the 
woman whom they had scanned so long and well during the 
journey by rail. But he had glanced around, with the others, 
at the noise made by the singular descent ; and his eye met 
that of the man who had been called Rowan, as the latter 
made the discovery of mother and daughter. It was but a 
lightning flash that Rowan gave or the stranger detected, but 
few glances of any human eye have ever expressed more 
within the same period. He evidently saw the young girl 
for the first time, at that moment ; and quite as evidently he 
drank in at that one glimpse the full charm of her beautyand 
goodness. That was not all : in the one glance, too, he ap- 
parently measured her wealth and social position— saw and 
reckoned up the proud woman standing beside her— then 
took, it is probable, an introspective view of himself and his 
own surroundings, and found time to realize the utter hope- 
lessness of that impulse which for the tithe of a moment he 
must have felt stirring within him. 

Perhaps half-a-dozen seconds had elapsed before he con- 
cluded the answer he had begun. " Xo, nothing— except— 
my heart !" He had begun to speak in a light, gay, off-hand 
manner : he concluded in a low, sad voice, full alike of music 
and melancholy. 

"H. T." had been observing him very closely during that 
brief space of time, as had nearly all the other spectators, 
their notice attracted by his reckless mode of alighting. He 
was apparently about thirty years of age, a little less than six 
feet high— jlerhaps five feet eleven ; with a form undeniably 
stout, but rounded like a reed and as elastic as whalebone. 
His hands were soft and womanish in their contour, though 
they were rather large, nut-brown in color, and had evidently 
felt, as had his face, the meridian sun. His feet were almost 



240 THE CO W A R D. 

singularly small for so large a man — highly arched and springy. 
His face and head, as he the moment after removed his hat, 
were capable of attracting attention in any company. The 
face was a little broad and heavily moulded ; the cheek-bones 
prominent and the nose slightly aquiline ; the eyes dark, 
dreamy and lazy ; the brow fair, and above it clustering dark, 
short, soft hair, curled, but so delicate in texture that it waved 
like silk floss with the veriest breath. The mouth would have 
been, the observer might have thought, heavy and a little sen- 
sual, had it not been hidden away by the thick and curling 
dark moustache which he wore without other beard. Only 
one other feature need be named — a chin rather broad and 
square and showing a very slight depression of the bone in 
the centre — such as has marked a singular description of men 
for many an hundred years. It needed a second glance to 
see that a broad, heavy scar, thoroughly healed, commenced 
at the left cheek-bone and traversed below the ear until lost 
in the thick hair at the base of the neck. Such was the pic- 
ture this man presented — a contradictory one in some respects, 
but evidencing great strength, power and agility, and yet more 
than a suspicion of intellectuality and refinement. A close 
and habitual observer of men does not often err in " placing" 
one whom he may happen to meet, even at first sight, — after 
a few seconds of careful examination ; but the keenest might 
have been puzzled to decide what was that man's station in 
life, his profession, or even his character. Any one must have 
been in the main favorably impressed : beyond that point 
little could possibly have been imagined by the most daring. 
A small black trunk came off the top of the coach at about 
the time that " H. T.,"' who seemed to be bargaining for a 
rival at that early period, had concluded his inspection ; and 
there was not much difficulty in connecting the name and 
address painted in white on the end with the appellation by 
which the stranger had the moment before been designated. 
That name and address read : " Halstead Rowan, Chicago, 
Illinois." 



THK COWARD. 241 

Two men appeared to be travelling in company with Rowan ; 
one a man of something beyond his own age— the other five 
or six years younger ; both respectable but by no means afflu- 
ent in appearance. All were well dressed and gentlemanly 
in aspect; but neither Rowan nor either of his companions 
gave the impression of what might be designated as the " firi^t 
circles of society," even in the great grain-metropolis of the 
West. 

*'H. T.," the observer, had fixed his eyes so closely on the 
male party in that singular meeting, that he probably lost the 
answering expression of the lady's face and did not know 
whether or not she had returned that glance of wondering 
interest. Something like disappointment at that lost oppor* 
tunity may have been the cause of his biting his lip a little 
nervously as he took his way, with the rest of the new- 
comers, into the hall and reception-room, waiting opportunity 
for the booking of names and the assignment ^of chambers. 
Some of those in waiting no doubt found the tedium mate- 
rially diminished by finding themselves, in tlie reception-room, 
at that close of a blazing day of July, standing or sitting with 
a decidedly grateful feeling before a quarter-of-a-cord of Wrchen 
wood, blazing away in the open fire-place with that peculiar 
warmth and hearty geniality so little known to this coal-burn- 
ing age, but so well remembered by those who knew the old 
baronial halls of republican America in a time long passed 
ciway. 

Xot many minutes after the rencontre that has been de- 
scribed, the crowd had vanished from the piazza of the Profile 
House, the coaches had driven away, the baggage was being 
rapidly removed within doors, and the tired and hungry new- 
comers were booked for rooms and clearing away the soil and 
dust of travel, preparatory to supper. Soon the crockerv and 
cutlery jingled in the long dining-room, and the flakv tea- 
biscuits steamed for those who hurried down to catch them in 
their full perfection. 

It was a desultory supper and a somewhat hurried one. for 
15 



242 1 li Jbi Co W A K L> . 

the moon-rise was coming — that rise of the full moon which 
so many had promised themselves, and for which, indeed, not 
a few of the arrivals of that evening had timed their visit to 
the mountains. Then, hunger has but little curiosity, and sur- 
veys and recognitions were both waited for until the broader 
light and greater leisure of the morning ; and probably of the 
dozens of old residents (a week is " old residence" at a water- 
iug-place, be it remembered, and a fortnight confers all the 
privileges of the habitue) — probably of the dozens of old 
residents and new-comers who had acquaintances among the 
opposite class, not two found time or thought for seeking out 
familiar faces during that period when the sharpened appetite 
was so notably in the ascendant. 

" The moonlight is coming : come out, all of you who care 
more for scenery than stulSng !" said a high, shrill voice, after 
a time had elapsed which would scarcely have begun the 
meal under ordinary circumstances. It was an elderly man 
with white hair and white side-whiskers, an old habitue of 
the house and therefore a privileged character, who spoke, 
pulling out his watch and at once rising from his seat. He 
was followed by more than half those at table, and would 
have been followed especially by Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame, 
who had somewhere learned that fashion and a rage for 
moonlight had a mysterious connection, — but for the insatia- 
ble hunger of Mr. Brooks Cunninghame himself, who was en- 
gaged in mortal combat with a formidable piece of steak and 
a whole pile of biscuits, and who outraged Mrs. Brooks 
Cunninghame by declaring, sotto voce, that " he'd be some- 
thing-or-othered if he'd lave his supper until he was done, for 
any moonlight or other something-or-othered thing in the 
wurruld !" — and the obstrepcrousness of Master Brooks 
Brooks Cunninghame, who was up to his eyes in three kinds 
of preserves and bade fair to stick permanently fast to the 
table through the agency of those glutinous compounds. 

Out on the piazza and the broad plateau in front of it, the 
visitors at the Profile gathered, to see what is not often 



THE COWARD. 243 

vouchsafed to the most devoted of nature-lovers — the rising* 
of the full moon in the mountains. Those who are familiar 
with the Franconia Notch well know how the mountains 
around the Profile always seem to draw closer after sunset, 
and how the frowning cliffs seem to form insurmountable 
barriers between them and the outer world, making it doubt- 
ful to the bewildered thought whether there is indeed any 
(.'j>Tess from that cool paradise of S'ummer — whether or not 
they can ride away at will and look again upon green fields 
and flashing streams and the faces of those they love. Ana 
they well know that moonrise there, over those encircling 
cliffs, is not the moonrise of the lower country, with the orb 
throwing its broad beams of light at once wide over the 
world, but an actual peeping down from heaven of a fair and 
genial spirit that deigns for the time to pour welcome radi- 
ance into an abode of solitude and darkness. The spectacle, 
then, is one to be sought and remembered ; and as storms 
habitually beat around those mountain tops and fog and mist 
quite divide the time with fair weather in the valleys, the 
tourist is mad or emotionless who allows the cloudless full 
moon to come up without catching its smile on cheek and 
brow. 

The intense blue of the eastern sky w^as already gone when 
the anxious groups clustered in front of the great white cara- 
vanserai, and the stars began to glimmer paler in that direc- 
tion. There was not a fleck of cloud, not a shadow of mist, 
to prevent the rounded orb, when it came up, flooding the 
whole gorge with the purest of liquid silver. The winds 
were still as if they w^aited with finger on lip for the pageant ; 
and the shrill scream of a young eagle that broke out for an 
instant from one of the eyries tinder the brow of Eagle Cliff 
and then died trembling away down the valley, seemed like 
profanation. Conversation was hushed, among all that vary- 
ing and even discordant crowd, as if there might be power in 
a profane word to check the wheeling of the courses of 
nature. The orient began to be flushed with that trembling 



244 THK COWARD. 

light, and glints of it touched the dark pines on the brow of 
the cliff, a mile away. Then that light beyond the cliffs 
deepened and the dark pines grew still darker as fully re- 
lieved against it. Then at last, as they watched with hushed 
breath, a rim of silver seemed suddenly to have been set as 
an arch on the very brow of the mountain, and slowly the full 
orb rolled into view. As it heaved up, a broad, full circle of 
glittering and apparently dripping silver, it threw out the 
trees on the brow of the mountain into such bold relief as if 
a lightning flash had literally been burning behind them. 
There was one giant old pine, no doubt an hundred feet in 
height, so far away on the bold crest of Eagle Cliff that it 
seemed to be only a toy tree of three inches ; and this was 
thrown against the very centre of the- moon, every gnarled 
limb and pendant branch as plain to the eye as if it hung 
within a stone's throw, a dead pigmy of the same family 
shooting up its ragged point not far distant, and a tangled 
wilderness of broken trees and scraggy branches filling the 
remainder of the circle. Then, the moment after, the moon 
heaved slowly up beyond the trees, they fell back into dark- 
ness, and the broad glow streamed full into the faces of the 
gazers and flooded the whole valley with light. The great 
spectacle of the month had been exhibited to hundreds of ad- 
miring eyes, and the full moon of July shed its broad glory 
like a blessing upon the Franconia. 

It was at the moment when the pageant was just conclud- 
ing and exclamations of pleasure breaking from a hundred 
lips, that " H. T." (who has not as yet furnished us data for 
any fuller revelation of his name), standing at some distance 
out on the plateau from the piazza, and stepping suddenly 
backward to observe a particular effect of the light among the 
trees on the cliff, trod upon the foot of a lady immediately be- 
hind him and nearly overthrew her. He turned immediately, 
with a word of apology, at the same time that a gentleman 
near her, who seemed to be in her immediate company, 
sprang to prevent her possible fall, venting meanwhile on the 



THE COWARD. 245 

presumed awkwardness of the aggressor a word of ill-dis- 
guised petulance : — 

''You should be a little more careful, sir, I think, how you 
step upon ladies' feet and risk hurting them seriously." 

" I beg a thousand pardons !" was the reply. " Certainly 
I did not know that there was a lady immediately behind 
me, and — " 

The lady gave a sudden start, caught a quick glance at 
the speaker, and then recovered her equanimity so suddenly 
that perhaps not two of all the company observed the mo- 
mentary agitation ; while the gentleman interrupted the 
attempted apology, not too politely, with — 

*' Is your foot much injured, Miss Hayley ?•' 

The answer made by the lady was in the negative, and in 
a tone that, though it trembled a little, proved her less petu- 
lant than her companion. But it is possible that " H. T.," 
as he has been known, did not pay that answer any attention 
whatever. As he turned he must certainly have seen the 
lady more or less distinctly in the moonlight, and yet had 
manifested no surprise at what he saw ; but when the name 
was mentioned he gave a start that must have been notice- 
able by any acute observer. Had he really not noticed her 
before his attention wassailed by the mention of the name ? 
or was the face one which he did not recognize while the 
name bore a talisman that commanded all his interest ? Cer- 
tain it is that he saw the lady now, distinctly ; and equally 
certain is it that the face was the same which has met the 
gaze of the reader, a month before, on the piazza of the 
house at West Philadelphia. 

Margaret Hayley, in very truth, dressed so darkly that at 
the first glance her attire might almost have been taken for 
black, and with not even one ornament to sparkle in the 
moonbeams, while that peculiarity of her raiment was made 
more notable by a light summer scarf or "cloud," of white 
berlin, thrown over her head to guard it from the night air, 
in a fashion somewhat oriental. Her proud, statuesque 



246 THE COWARD 

figure rose erect as ever ; and the same stately perfection of 
womanhood looked out from her dark eyes and beamed upon 
her pure, high brow, that had shone there before the falling 
of that blow which had so truly been the turning point of 
her life. The cheek may have been a shade thinner than a 
month before ; and there may have been a shadow under the 
eyes, too marked for her heyday of youth and health ; but if 
so the moonlight was not enough of a telltale to make the 
revelation. 

The gentleman who had so promptly attended to the com- 
fort of Margaret Hayley, an.d who did not seem averse to 
picking up a quarrel on her behalf, was dark haired and dark 
bearded, round-faced and rather fine-looking than otherwise, 
a little above the middle height, and wearing the uniform of 
a Captain on staff service. So much the eye of " H. T." 
took in at once, and he seemed to keep his attention some- 
what anxiously on the two as the moment after they turned 
away and walked back towards the piazza, as if he would 
gladly have caught some additional word conveying a knowl- 
edge of the officer's personality. Nothing more was said, 
however, that could afford such a clue if one he really de- 
sired ; and but a little time had elapsed when another subject 
of excitement arose, calculated to interest many of the hun- 
dreds who had already become partially drunk with the 
glory of the moonlight. 

*' The moon is high enough, now : let us see how the Old 
Man of the Mountain looks when his face is silvered !" said 
some one in the crowd ; and the happy suggestion was at 
once acted upon. There were quite enough old habitues 
present to supply guides and chaperons for the new-comers ; 
and in a moment fifty or more of the visitors went trooping 
away down the white sandy road through the glen and under 
the sweeping branches among which the moonbeams peeped 
and played so coquettishly. 

Two or three windings of the road, two or three slight 
ascents and descents in elevation : !=ome one said : " Here is 



THE COWARD. 247 

the best view;" and the whole company paused in their 
scattering march. A sudden break, opening upon a dark 
quiet little lake or tarn, was to be seen through the trees to 
the right ; and a quarter of a mile away, hanging sheer over 
the gulf of more than two thousand feet sweeping down 
towards the foot of the Cannon — there, with the massive 
iron face staring full into the moonlight that touched nose 
and cheek and brow with so strange and doubtful a light 
that the unpractised eye could not trace the outlines, while 
the accustomed could see them almost as plainly as in the 
sunlight — there loomed the awful countenance of the Old 
Man of the Mountain. Some there were in that company, 
familiar with every changing phase of that most marvellous 
freak of nature, who thought that grand as it had before 
seemed to them when the sun was high in the heavens and 
the dark outline relieved against the bright western sky, it 
was yet grander then, in the still, doubtful, solemu moonlight. 
Among those who had gone down to the edge of the little 
Old Man's Mirror for this view, were two of the sterner sex 
who happened to be without ladies under charge and to be sep- 
arated from any other company. Directly, walking near each 
other, they fell together and exchanged casual remarks on tho 
beauty of the night and the peculiarities of different points of 
scenery. They were the two who had first seen each other 
at the moment of alighting at the Profile little more than an 
hour before — " H. T." of the initials and the lady's smashed 
foot, and Halstead Rowan of the gymnastic spring from the 
coach-top. The first glance had told to each that there was 
something of mark in the other ; and under the peculiar 
circumstances of that night they drifted together, without 
introduction except such as each could furnish for himself, 
but not likely to separate again without a much more inti- 
mate acquaintance, — just as many other waifs and fragments, 
floating down the great stream of life, have been thrown into 
. what seemed accidental collision by a chance eddy, and yet 
never separated again until each had exercised upon tho 



248 THE COWAKD. 

other an influence materially controlling the whole after 
course of destiny. 

Eventually the two, both rapid walkers, had gone faster 
than the rest and become the leaders of the impromptu pro- 
cession to the shrine of the Old Man, so that when the halt 
was called they were standing together and apart from the 
others, forty or fifty feet further down the glen and where 
they had perhaps a yet better view of the profile than any 
of the company. Both were dear lovers of nature, if the 
word " reverent'' could not indeed be added to the apprecia- 
tion of both ; and standing together there, even in silence, 
the intuitive knowledge of the inner life of each seemed to 
bring them more closely together than introductions and a 
better knowledge of antecedents could possibly have done. 
Then the crowd tired of gazing and moved back towards the 
house, leaving the two standing together and probably sup- 
posing themselves alone. They were not alone, in fact ; for 
under the shadow of the trees to the left, half way between 
the spot where the new friends were standing and that which 
had been occupied by the body of the visitors, were three 
persons continuing the same lingering gaze. These were the 
officer and two ladies who each found the support of an arm 
— Margaret Hayley and her mother, the latter of whom, it 
would thus seem, was also at the Profile under the escort of 
the military gentleman. Unobserved themselves, they had 
the two men in full moonlight below and could see them 
almost as well as in the broader light of day. 

" Who are they, Captain Coles ? Anybody we know ?" 
asked the elder lady, speaking so low that the sound did not 
creep down to the two gazers. 

"Both new-comers, I think," answered the military gentle- 
man. "Yes, they both came in to-night; and one of them, 
Margaret, is the booby who stepped on your foot a little 
while ago, and whom I shall yet take occasion to kick before 
he leaves the mountains if he does not learn to keep out of 
people's way." 



THE COWARD. 249 

*' I beg you will not allow yourself to get into difficulty on 
account of that trilling accident, and for me !" answered 
Margaret Hayley, while something very like a shudder, not 
at all warranted by the words, and that the Captain was not 
keen enough to perceive, swept through her form and even 
trembled the arm that rested within his. 

" Difficulty ? oh, no difficulty, to me, you know ; and for 
you, Margaret, more willingly than any other person in the 
world, of course !" and Captain Hector Coles, confident that 
he had expressed himself rather felicitously, thought it a 
good time to bow around to Miss Hayley, and did so. 

"You are quite right. Captain Hector Coles," said Mrs. 
Burton Hayley. " Low people, who do not even know how to 
walk without running over others, should be kept at their 
proper distance ; and of course gentlemen and soldiers like 
yourself find it not only a duty but a privilege to afford to us 
ladies that protection." 

This time Captain Hector Coles, immensely flattered, 
bowed round on the other side, to the elder lady. 

" Hark !" said Margaret Hayley, in a louder voice than 
either had before used, and a voice that had a perceptible 
tremor in it like that of fright. 

" What did you hear ?" asked the Captain. 

" Listen — I want to bear what that man was saying." 

" H. T." was speaking, just below. 

•' No, I have never been here before," he said. *' Strangely 
enough, some of the greatest curiosities of the continent are 
neglected by just such fools as myself, until too old or too 
busy or too careworn to enjoy them." 

"You speak like a jolly old grandfather, and yet you are 
scarcely as old as myself," answered the rich, sonorous voice 
of Halstead Rowan. "Well, that is your business. The 
White Mountains are no novelty to me, or any other moun- 
tains, I believe. North of the Isthmus." 

" Is there any thing finer than this, at this moment, among 
^ hem all?" 



250 THE COWARD. 

" No, and I doubt if there is any thing finer on earth !" was 
the enthusiastic reply. " And by the way, even I have not 
happened to see the full moon on the face of the Old Man, 
before. It is a magnificent sight — a new sensation." 

" How long has it stood so, I wonder ? Since creation ?" 
said the voice of "n. T.," " or did the Flood hurl those 
masses of stone into so unaccountable an accidental position ?" 

"Haven't the most remote idea I" answered Rowan, gayly. 
"I have often thought of it, though, when looking at the 
marvel in the sunlight. But I have never been able to get 
any farther back than the idea how the winds must have 
howled and the rains beaten around that immobile face, age 
after age, while whole generations of the men after whom the 
face is apparently copied as a mockery, have been catching 
cold and dying from a mere puff of air on the head or a pair 
of wet feet." 

"The eternal — the immovable I" said " H. T.," his voice 
so solemn and impressive that it w^as evident his words were 
only a faint representation of the inner feeling. 

" I know one thing that it has been, without a doubt," said 
Rowan. " When the whole country was filled with Indians 
of a somewhat nobler character than the miserable wretches 
that alternately beg and murder on the Western plains, there 
is not much question that they must have worshipped it as 
the face of the Great Manitou, looking down upon them in 
anger or in love, as the storm-cloud swept around it or the 
Bummer sun tinted it with an iron smile." 

Halstead Rowan was speaking unconscious poetry, as many 
another man of his disposition has done, while those who 
sought to make it a trade have been hammering their dull 
brains and spoiling much good paper in the mere stringing 
of rhymes bearing the same relation to poetry that an onion 
does to the bulb of a tulip ! Whether his companion caught 
the tone from him and merely elaborated it into another utter- 
ance, or whether he possessed the fire within himself and this 
rencontre was only the means of bringing out the spark, is 



THE COWARD. 251 

soniethiug uot now to be decided. But he spoke words that 
not only made the other turn and gaze upon him for a mo- 
ment with astonishment, but moved the three unseen auditors 
with feelings which neither C(5uld very well analyze. His 
dark face, tinted by the moonlight as the stony brow of the 
mountain was itself touched and hallowed, seemed rapt as 
those of the seers of old are sometimes said to have been ; and 
bis voice was strangely sweet and melodious : 

" To me, just now," he said, " that iron face is assuming a 
new shape." 

" The deuce it is !" answered Rowan. " Where ?" 

"'In my mind's eye, Horatio !'■" quoted the speaker, and 
the other seemed to understand something of his mood. ' " Ho 
you know^ that face may be nothing more than sixty feet of 
strangely-shaped stone, to others ; but to me, at this moment, 
it is the Spirit of the Xorth looking sadly down over our fields 
of conflict and saying words that I almost hear. Listen, and 
see if you do not hear them, too !" 

How strangely earnestness sometimes impresses us, even 
when little else than madness is the motive power ! Halstead 
Rowan, by no means a man to be easily moulded to the fan- 
cies of any other, found himself insensibly turning his ear 
towards the Sphynx, as if it was indeed speaking through the 
still night air ! 

'" I am the Soul of the Xation,'" the singular voice went 
on,. speaking as if for the lips of stone. " ' Storms have raved 
around my forehead and thunders have shaken my base, but 
nothing has moved me ! Scarred I may have been by the 
lightning and discolored by the beating rain, but the hand of 
man cannot touch me, and even the elements can disturb me' 
not. I have seen ten thousand storms, and not one but was 
followed by the bright sunshine, because Nature was ever 
true to itself. Be but true to yourselves, loyal men of the 
great American Union, and the nation you love shall yet be 
throned above the reach of treason as I am throned above the 



252 THE COWARD. 

touch of man — unapproachable in its power as I am fearful 
in my eternal isolation !' " 

Halstead Rowan had ceased looking at the Sphynx and 
gazed only at its oracle, long before the strange rhapsody 
concluded ; and Margaret Hayley, supported upon the arm 
of Captain Hector Coles, had more thaH once shuddered, and 
at last leaned so heavily upon that arm as to indicate that she 
must be suddenly ill. To the startled inquiry of the Captain 
as to the cause of her trembling, she replied in words that 
indicated her feeling to have been excited by the strangely- 
patriotic words, and by a request to be taken back at once to 
the Profile. That request was immediately heeded, and the 
three passed on up the road, where all the other company had 
some time preceded them. 

But one expression more fell from the lips of the strange 
man, as the three moved away, and Margaret Hayley 
heard it. 

" "Why, you must be a poet !" said the lUinoisan, when his 
companion had concluded the rhapsody. 

" Xo, I am only a lawyer, and you must not take all that 
we say for gospel, or even for poetry !" was the reply. 
" Come, let us go back to the house and imagine that we have 
had enough of moonlight.-' 

The two followed up the road at once and overtook the 
three but a moment after. As they passed, "H. T." recog- 
nized first the shoulder-straps of the officer, and then the figure 
of the lady upon his left arm. Turning to see her face more 
closely, his own was for a moment under the full glare of the 
moon, and Margaret Hayley had a fair opportunity to observe 
every feature. Shaded as were her own eyes, their direction 
could not be distinguished ; but they really scanned the face 
before them with even painful earnestness, a low, intense sigh 
of disappointment and unhappiness escaping her when the 
inspection had ended. She walked back with Captain Coles 
and her mother to the door of the Profile, and left them in 
conversation on the moonlit piazza, escaping up-stairs to her 



THE COWARD. 25S 

own room and not leaving it again during the evening. 
What may have been her thoughts and feelings can only be 
divined from one expression which fell from her lips as she 
closed the door of her chamber and dropped unnerved upon a 
chair at the table : 

" Who can that man be ? His voice, and yet not his voice I 
A shadow of his face, and yet no more like his face than 
like mine ! Am I haunted, or has this trouble turned my 
brain and am I going mad ? Another such evening would 
kill me, I think I" 

There was the sound of horn and harp and violin ringing 
through the long corridors of the Profile that evening ; and 
many of those who had shared in the glory of the moonrise 
and the solemn levee of the Old Man of the Mountain were 
joining in the dance that went on in that parlor which ap- 
peared largo enough for the drill evolutions of an entire regi- 
ment But few of the new-comers joined the revel for that 
evening ; most of them, fatigued at once with travel and ex- 
citement, crept away to early beds in order to refresh them- 
selves against the morning ; and nothing remained, of any 
interest to the progress of this narration, except Captain 
Hector Coles walking up and down the long piazza for more 
than an hour after Margaret Hayley had retired, his boot- 
heels ringing upon the planks with a somewhat ostentatious 
affectation of the military step, Mrs. Burton Hayley mean- 
while leaning upon his arm, and the two holding in tones so 
low that no passer-by could catch them, a conversation which 
seemed to be peculiarly earnest and confidential. 

Yet there was still one occurrence of that night which 
cannot be passed over without serious injury to the character 
of this record for strict veracity. Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame, 
during a large part of the night, was in serious trouble w^hich 
required the full exercise of her maternal vigilance — while 
Miss Marianna, deserted by her father who had surreptitiously 
smoked a short pipe in the edge of the woods and thence gone 
to bed and to sleep, wandered disconsolately round the parlor, 



254 THE COWARD. 

dressed in more costly frippery than would have sufficed to 
establish two mantua-makers, unintroduced to any one, stared 
at with the naked eye and through eye-glasses, her freckles 
complimented in an undertone that she could not avoid hear- 
ing, the name of her dress-maker facetiously inquired after, 
and the poor girl, made miserable by being dragged by her 
silly parents to precisely the spot of all the world where she 
least belonged, suffering such torments as should only be in- 
flicted upon the most unrepentant criminal. 

But the peculiar trouble of Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame has 
not as yet been explained, and it must be so disposed of in 
a few words. Ill health, on the plea of which she had started 
on her " summer tour," had really attacked her interesting 
family, or at least one highly-important member of it. Master 
Brooks Brooks Cunninghame, naturally a little sharp set after 
his long ride and accustomed to regard any supper with 
*' goodies" on the table as something to be clung to until the 
buttons of his small waistband could endure no farther pres- 
sure — Master Brooks Brooks Cunninghame, as has already 
been mentioned, had remained at the table a little beyond 
the bounds of strict prudence. In other words, he had de- 
voured beef-steak and fruits, fish and milk, biscuits and 
pickles, tea, pickled oysters and sweetmeats, until even his 
digestive pack-horse was overloaded. Very soon after sup- 
per he had petitioned to be taken to bed, and then un- 
pleasant if not serious symptoms had been no long time in 
supervening. During a large part of the night there were a 
coaple of chambermaids running to and from that part of the 
building, with hot water, brandy, laudanum, foot-baths and 
other appliances for suffering small humanity; while Master 
Brooks Brooks kept doubling himself up in all imaginable at- 
titudes and crying : " Oh, mommy !'' in a manner calculated 
to wring the heart of that motherly person, — to make Mr. 
Brooks Cunninghame, who wished to sleep, growl out some 
reasonably-coarse oaths between his clenched teeth, — and to 
induce wonder on the part of people who had occasion to 



THE COWARD. 255 

pass the front of the building or come out on the piazza, 
whether they did or did not keep a small menagerie of 
3-oung bears, wolves and wild-cats in full blast on the second 
floor. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



Miss Clara Yanderlyn and her Pet Bears — A Misad- 
venture AND A Friendly ITand in Tlme — The Question 
OF Courage — Halstead Rowan and Mrs. Brooks Cun- 
ninghame on Geography — The Dead Washington, the 
Flume and the Pool — With the personal relations 
weaving at that juncture. 

Breakfast was over at the Profile, on the next morning; 
the stages had rolled away for Littleton, the Crawford and 
Plymouth ; and preparations were in progress for a ride of two 
or three wagon-loads down the glen to the Flume, — when 
"H. T.,'' cigar in mouth, passed out from the bar-room to 
the piazza and thence across the plateau in front, towards the 
billard-room and ten-pin-alley, standing a hundred yards away 
to the right, and at the very bottom of the slope of the moun- 
tain. He had seen, in the dusk and afterwards in the moon- 
light of the night before, that a couple of the rough pets of 
the mountain region were sojourning at the Notch, in the 
shape of half-grown black bears, chained to stakes some 
twenty feet apart, with a dog-kennel for their joint retreat, 
perhaps a hundred feet from the house and immediately in 
front of it, where 'their antics could be discerned and enjoyed 
from the piazza and the front windows. He had seen, too, 
going out earlier that morning, that they did not appear yet 
old enough to be dangerously vicious, and that they seemed 
very playful for that description of beast. Everybody was 
feeding them, from early morning to dusk, with nuts, raisins 



256 THE COWARD 

and crackers surreptitiously taken from the table for that pur- 
pose ; and the young.>^tci'S no doubt consumed in feeding the 
young Bruins, quite as much food as they themselves man- 
aged to devour. 

Just then not less than a dozen persons were surrounding 
the household favorites, feeding them, putting them through 
their clumsy evolutions which principally consisted in sitting 
erect or climbing a short post to get a nut placed on the top, — 
or developing the usual human propensity for teazing. Most 
of them were ladies, and among the others, as he went by at 
a short distance, he recognized Miss Clara Tanderlyn, his 
fellow-passenger of the day before, — her face rosy with the 
excitement of a just-accomplished morning walk, her bonnet 
on arm, and her whole countenance radiant with amusement 
as she plied the dusky pets with her pocket full of nuts and 
raisins. She seemed to have acquired a wonderful ascend- 
anc}" over the beasts in a very brief acquaintance ; for while 
all the others shrank from coming absolutely within reach, 
she not only fed them without fear but rubbed their black coats 
and patted their gristly noses as if they had been pet kittens. 
Two or three men were lounging near, evidently admiring the 
new lady accession to Profile society, but none claiming an 
acquaintance. 

"H. T.," who either had a propensity for ten-pins that 
morning, overbalancing the admiration of Miss Tanderlyn 
which he had shown the day before, or a still stronger at- 
traction for company whom he knew to be at the alley — 
" H. T." was just passing on when Margaret Hayley, accom- 
panied by the inevitable Captain Hector Coles, came out of 
the door of the billiard-room and advanced towards the bear- 
stakes. It must remain a mystery whether this appearance 
from the door did or did not make a change in his own neces- 
sity for exercise : suffice it to say that he stopped, turned par- 
tially around and joined the group who were making levee to 
the Bruins. 

At that moment, when Clara Yanderlvn had succeeded in 



THE COWARD. 2C)7 

luria<i: one of the bears to the toj) of his " stool of repentance" 
(the short post), and was bending close above him, feeding 
and fondling what few other female hands dared touch, — a 
new actor came upon the scene, in the shape of Master Brooks 
Brooks Cunninghame, accorapan^nng his " Mommy." He had 
not died the night before as might have been expected from 
his surfeit, but the freckled appearance of his face was mate- 
rially improved by a ground hue of greenish white which his 
short sickness had imparted. His careful mamma had dressed 
him for that gala-day in a complete phiid suit of bhie and 
white, with a cap of the same material aud a black feather; 
and he looked scarcely less ornamental than useful. Evi- 
dently, sick as he had really been, he was all alive and awake 
that morning and might be safely calculated upon for adding 
to the general comfort by prowess of mouth and fingers. And 
the company were not obliged to wait very long for proof that 
the scion of the house of Cunninghame was aware of the 
duties of his position and quite equal to them. He left the 
maternal hand, spite of the clutching of the latter, at the 
moment of arriving at the bear-stakes, and spying what he 
rightly judged to be a good opportunity, stepped rapidly round 
behind the bear, caught him by the stumpy tail, and gave him 
a sharp twitch which nearly threw him from the top of the 
post. 

In an instant the playful nature of the bear was gone, and 
with one sudden growl he raised his heavy paw with its sharp 
claws and struck full at the face of Miss A'anderlyn, not two 
feet from him. Every one present saw the blow, but no one 
seemed to have enough presence of mind or courage to shield 
her from a stroke which, falling full in her unprotected face, 
must certainly have disfigured her for life. 

No one — it has been said : no one of those known to be 
present, most of whom were women or children ; and neither 
" H. T." nor Captain Hector Coles had yet come near enough 
to be of any possible service. Yet the blow did not reach 
Clara Vanderlyn. A hand and arm were suddenly dashed 



258 THE COWARD. 

between the paw and the threatened face, with such force that 
while the sharp claws tore the skin and flesh in ribbons from 
the back of the hand and split the coat-sleeve as if it had 
been paper, — the bear was knocked backward off his perch and 
rolled over in a ball on the ground at the side of the kennel. 
When any of the company sufficiently recovered from their 
astonishment to glance at the face of the lucky yet unlucky 
preserver, they saw that it was that of the bluff arrival of the 
evening before, Halstead Rowan. 

With the exception of three persons, all present rushed up 
at once, under the impression that Rowan's hand must be se- 
riously injured. One of these exceptions was " H. T.," who 
made a movement to dart forward, even from his distance, 
when he saw the blow impending:, but who the instant that it 
had fallen turned and walked back towards the ten-pin alley. 
The second was Margaret Hay ley, who had recognized the per- 
sonality of both the conversationists of the previous evening, 
and who naturally stopped in blank surprise to sec one of two 
persons whom she supposed to be intimate friends, turn away 
the moment that the other was wounded. The third was 
Captain Hector Coles, who really had no power to do other- 
wise than obey the check laid upon him by the lady's hand. 

All who saw knew that the injury must be severe, but it 
might have been the scratch of a pin for any effect which it 
seemed to produce on the Illinoisan. The blood was stream- 
ing profusely from the wound, but almost before any one 
saw it the other hand was inserted in a side-pocket, and a 
w^hite handkerchief drawn thence and w^rapped around the 
injured member. 

" Are you much hurt, sir ?" 

** What a narrow escape, miss !" 

" Indeed, I thought his paw would injure your face 
terribly 1" 

" Somebody ought to kill that boy !" 

These and a score of similar expressions burst from the 
dozen or two of spectators. Miss Yanderlyn had caught the 



TUE COWARD. 250 

young man by the sleeve of llie coat, with perceptible ner- 
vousness in her grip, and said, with all that sweet smile 
faded from her face, and her voice trembling with anxiety : 

" Indeed — indeed, sir, I am very grateful to you. I should 
have been badly hurt, I fear, but for your kind aid. Pray 
let us do something to prevent your suflfering so much from 
your generosity. I am afraid that you are very much 
injured !" 

" Oh, not in the least, madame — miss, perhaps I should 
say. Nothing but a scratch ; and if the company at the 
Profile do not object to a big glove, none of us will be aware 
of the accident in a few minutes." 

" Trust me, sir !" said the young lady, in the same anxious 
tone, "/shall be aware of your kindness so long as I live." 

" Pray do not mention it again 1" said Rowan. " Indeed 
I am only too happy that the little affair occurred." He was 
telling the truth, beyond a question, however far he might 
have been from telling what they equally require in the 
courts of law — the ichole truth; and again for one instant 
there might have been seen sweeping over his face the same 
changing expression that had played hide-and-seek there on 
his first arrival the evening before : — admiration — regard — 
reverence — hope — joy ; and then the dull shadow of recollec- 
tion and hopelessness. 

Clara Yanderlyn, too, whether she had or had not remarked 
him on that occasion — Clara Yanderlyn saw and read his 
face now ! Her eyes fixed for one moment full upon his, 
then drooped, and the rich blood crept up to brow, neck, and 
bosom, from which it had been expelled by the temporary 
fright. For an instant she was silent, and seemed to be 
studying; then she drew from the little reticule which hung 
upon her arm a card-case, took out a card, and handed it to 
Kowan, with a still more conscious blush, her old smile, and 
the words : 

" I am aware, sir, that this is a singular introduction, and 
on my part a painful one, as it has been the means of caus- 



260 THE COWARD. 

ini!: you an injury; but my mother aud my brother will be 
glad to know you and to thank you better than I can do." 

" Miss Vanderlyn," said Rowan, taking the card and 
glancing at the name just as earnestly avS if he had never 
paid any attention whatever to the register at the office, 
"you do me too much honor. I have no card in my pocket. 
Would you be kind enough to give me anotlier of yours ?" 

She at once handed him another card and a pencil, and he 
dashed down, in a bold, rapid, and mercantile hand, though 
he used the sinister member for the operation, the name and 
address which the little black trunk had before revealed to 
those who chose to read. 

" Thank you, Mr. Rowan. Good-morning ! Pray take 
care of your hand, or I shall never forgive myself!" she said, 
nodding to her new acquaintance, and turning towards the 
house. Rowan bowed low, said good-morning, and strolled 
away towards the ten-pin alley, apparently not more con- 
cerned by the hurt than if he had merely pricked .his finger. 
He was one of those booked for the ride to the Flume, but he 
seemed to need severer exercise, and the momtjnt after he 
might have been seen with his hand still wrapped in the 
bloody white handkerchief, bowling away at the pins with the 
other, and humming the Grand March in " Norma" as if he 
thought that a favorable strain of music to accompany the 
levelling of obstacles or enemies. 

^trs. Brooks Cunninghame, hearing the threat directed at 
her promising boy, had mustered common-sense enough to 
hurry him away from the scene of action. Captain Coles 
and Miss Hayley had meanwhile come up, and " H. T.," 
turning once more before he reached the alley, reached the 
spot at the same moment. For the first time, in broad day- 
light, Margaret Hayley met the strange man face to face, 
and her cheek whitened — why, even she perhaps could not 
tell — at that expression or resemblance which slie traced 
there. If there was any answering expression of agitation 
or surprise on the face of the man with the initials, she failed 



I THE COWARD. "SSl 

to read it, and her eyes in a moment aank from a survey 
which seemed so profitless. They were at that time very 
near each other, and Captain Coles and " H. T." not more 
than six feet apart. Their eyes met, nnd that indefinalde 
somethinp; passed between them before another word was 
spoken, which includes antaj^onism, if not deadly hostility. 
There was no reason to believe that they had ever met Ijefore 
the preceding evening; there was no reason to believe that 
they could ever have an interest in conflict ; and yet those 
two men were foes, and would remain so until one or the 
other should be thoroughly conquered. 

" A go-ahead fellow, I should not be afraid to stake my 
life !" said one of the gentlemen who had just come up, 
alluding to the hero of the hour and seeming to address any 
one who might choose to answer. 

*' Ya-a-as !" slowly and doubtingly said Captain Hector 
Coles, caressing his beard and throwing almost insufferable 
arrogance into a manner which naturally had quite enough 
of it. "Ya-a-as, go-ahead enough, apparently, but not a bit 
of a gentleman. Rough as the bear he just knocked over, 
and looks as if he might have come from among something 
of the same breed 1" 

" Xo, not a gentleman, probably!" said "II. T.," with a 
sneer in his tone quite as little disguised as the other's arro- 
gance. " But he is something a good deal better, in my 
opinion, and something a good deal rarer — a man, every 
inch of him !" 

"At any rate," said another, who had not yet spoken, 
"I would give a hundred dollars to have blundered into an 
introduction to that splendid girl as he has done, even if it 
cost me a hand worse scratched than his." 

"He has 7? arZ worse scratches I Did you notice the scar 
on his cheek, coming away down here to the neck ?" said 
one of the ladies who had witnessed the whole affair, address- 
ing Margaret Hay ley. 

" Xo — has he a scar ?" 



262 THE COWARD. 

" A terrible one. I think he must have been a soldier, at 
some time or other." 

" I believe that he has the noblest gift ever conferred by 
God upon man, — that of courage !" answered Margaret. "If 
he was a slave or a savage I could love and respect him for 
that, as I should despise him if he was a king without it !" 

From the depth of what a terrible wound in her own heart 
was the young girl speaking, and what a concentrated force 
of bitter earnest rankled in such words falling from her beau- 
tiful lips ! Captain Hector Coles heard, but made no answer, 
as why should he, for was he not one of the country's defenders 
and a brave man by profession? " H. T." heard her, and 
his upper lip, under the shadow of his dark moustache, set 
down tightly upon the lower, while over his handsome dusky 
face passed an expression which might have been pain and 
might have been the crushing out of some last scruple of con- 
science that stood between him and a half-intended line of 
action. 

" Passengers for the Flume" had been the' call some minutes 
before ; and by the conclusion of this scene, at nine o'clock or 
thereabout, the wagons for that daily ride of inveterate Fran- 
con i an s were drawn up at the door. They were two in num- 
ber, the list of riders for that fine morning being unusually 
heav3\ Not coaches, that necessarily shut away a part of 
the view, but long low wagons on jacks, each with four or 
five cross seats, a heavy brake and four mettled horses — for 
fine weather and through the shaded glen roads, the safest 
and pleasantest of all the mountain conveyances. Five minutes 
sufficed to fill both those conveyances, with some thirty per- 
sons, among the number all those in whom this narration 
awakes any interest. How they were divided ofi" or how 
seated is a matter of no consequence, except in a certain par- 
ticular. Halstead Rowan managed to secure a seat in the 
same wagon with Clara Yauderlyn, though at the other end 
of the vehicle, — and in so doing found himself by the side of 
Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame and only one remove from that 



THE COWARD. 2d8 

hopeful, Master Brooks Brooks. Not enjoying quite the 
same facilities as some of the otlier.s for studying that lady 
the night before, he had still been attracted to her at breakfast 
and found time to ''cypher up" her calibre and social position 
to {V most amusing nicety. Whether vvildness was the normal 
condition of his character, as seemed possible, or whether liis 
slight rencontre with the young bear, and the flattering con- 
versation with a pretty girl which followed, had dizzied his 
brain a little, as was both possible and natural, — he was ia 
high spirits and the very demon of mischief had taken pos- 
session of him. He had apparently determined to devote 
himself somewhat to the comfort of that Arch-priestess of 
Shoddy during the morning ride, and a pleasant time that 
elevated personage was likely to have of it I 

Just after leaving the breakfast table, Rowan had chanced 
to overhear a few words of conversation between Mrs. Brooks 
Cunninghame and one of the lady habitues of the house on 
whom she was aiming to make a tremendous impression ; 
and those few words had fully revealed one of the leading 
points of the parvenu's tactics. Some one had told her, 
apparently, or she had read the statement in so-called "polite 
publications"— ^that no "one could be fashionable, now-a-days, 
without having been "abroad" — i. e., without having made 
at least one tour in Europe. Now that Mrs. Brooks Cun- 
ninghame had been abroad, at least so far as beyond the 
Atlantic, at that very early period before she left the paternal 
cabin, pig and potatoes, — seemed the most probable of allega- 
tions; but in the matter of actual travel, or of those substi- 
tutes for travel which may be found in a thorougli acquaint- 
ance with geography and a close study of guide-books and 
the best travellers, the poor woman had been as guiltless, a 
few weeks before, as the most stay-at-home and illiterate of 
her early acquaintances. But she could read, which was 
something, and had no conscience worth speaking of, which 
was something more. Perhaps some one had told her the 
traditional storv of Tom Sheridan and his father, and the 



26i THE CO W A K i>. 

wonder which the latter expressed tliat the former "could not 
Hav that he had been down into a coal-pit without really 
p:oin{5 there." The woithy lady, as Rowan soon discovered 
by a few desultory words, had no corresponding objection, 
provided she could seem to have been anywhere; and there 
M'as little doubt that she had procured a guide-book or two 
and "read up," as Honorable ^lenibers very often do before 
making speeches on subjects of which they know nothing 
whatever, — and as snobs sometimes do in books on "Perfect 
Gentility" and the " Whole Art of Dining Out," before going 
into society which seems a little too weighty for their pre- 
vious training. How well she had succeeded, may best be 
illustrated by a little of her conversation with the lllinoisan, 
who took care, to introduce the subject of her "travels" 
(with what he had overheard, as a hint) very soon after the 
wagons rolled away from the Profile, and without waiting 
for any formal introduction. 

He broke the ice with the remark, equally tempting and 
flattering to his next neighbor: 

"You must enjoy this tine scenery very much, madam, as 
you have chances of comparison that some of us lack. You 
have travelled in Europe, I believe ?" 

" Yes — yes, sir," answered the lady, a little doubtful which 
of the two was the proper answer to so profound a sentence. 
If she was at all nervous about plunging into such untried 
waters with a total stranger, his disclamatory hint of his own 
experiences reassured her; and besides, one of the ladies was 
on the seat immediately behind, to whom she had been boast- 
ing that very morning, and it would never do to abandon the 
ground once taken. 

"Ah, how proud you must feel, madam, of having seen so 
many of the wonders of nature I" the wretch went on. " I 
have never yet been able to cross the ocean, myself, and the 
conversation of foreign travellers is naturally both pleasant 
and instructive to me.' 

" Much obliged to you, I am sure,"' the lady returned. 



T H E C O W A K J). , 265 

Some of the passengers in the Ava<ron, who had previously 
observed the hero of the morning, and thought him any thing 
else rather than a fool, looked twice at him, at this juncture, 
to discover what he could mean by addressing complimentary 
conversation to that compound of ignorance and vulgarity. 
It must be owned that Clara Yanderlyn, who sat on one of 
the back seats while the interlocutors were in front, believing 
the man in earnest, felt for the moment a sensation of disgust 
towards him and wished her card back in her reticule. But 
if she and some of the others w^ere temporarily deceived, the 
deception was not of long continuance. 

The statement by Rowan that he had never been across 
the Atlantic, was the one thing necessary to reassure Mrs. 
Brooks Cunninghame ; and that point settled, she felt sure of 
her ground. 

"How long since you w^ere abroad, madam, may I ask ?'^ 
he continued. 

"Five 3''ears," answered the lady, who no doubt felt that 
both her duration of standing in society and the accuracy of 
her memory would appear the better for a little lapse of time. 

" Five years, indeed ? so long ?" asked the scamp, with 
every appearance of interest. "And did you have your dear 
little boy with you all the time?" 

"Xo, ni}^ physician did not think it prudent for me to take 
him along of me, and I left him to home with the nurse," was 
the reply. The fact was, really, that at the early period 
named her " physician" had been a drunken Indian-herb doc- 
tor, the only description of medical man likely to visit the 
shanty which she yet occupied, — and that she had been (per- 
haps better and more honorably occupied than at any time 
after!) doing her own work without the hope or thought of 
ever employing a servant. 

"Dear little fellow !" said the Illinoisan, caressing the 
scrubbing-l)rush head of the repulsive youngster. " What a 
pity that he could not have gone with you I By the way, 



266 THE COWARD. 

madam, you went by steamer, of course. Did you take 
steamer for Paris, or — or — St. PetersburGch ?" 

By this time most of the passengers began to perceive what 
was coming, and there were symptoms of a titter in tlie back 
seats, but nothing that warned or disturbed the victim. 

" Oh, Paris, of course I" was the answer. " Dear, delight- 
ful Paris, where the shops was so handsome and the women 
wore such elegant bunnits !" (See guide-books.) 

** You landed at Paris direct from the steamer, I suppose ?" 
asked the tormentor, at which question the titter really began, 
but still too quietly to put the lady on her guard. 

" Oh, yes, of course !" was the answer. " The tide was 
high, and we went right up." The poor woman had probably 
been aground, son\e time, on the Hudson Overslaugh or the 
Shrewsbury Flats, and supposed that nothing but low tide 
could prevent going up to Paris by steamship. 

"Let me see — what is the name of that river that takes 
you up to Paris ?" the scamp went on, with his face con- 
torted into a w^onderful appearance of earnest thought. 
" The — the — the — which is it, now, the Danube or the 
Amazon ?" 

*' I am not very sure," answered the lady at hap-hazard, " I 
almost forget, but I think it is the Amazon — yes, I know it 
must be the Amazon." 

At about that period there was a laugh in the back part of 
the long wagon, and Clara Yanderlyn w^as as red in the face 
as if she had been committing some serious fault. She would 
unquestionably have liked to pinch that naughty fellow's ears, 
if not to box them. But the laugh did not disturb Mrs. 
Brooks Cunninghame, for the young people were frolicking 
all the while and a hundred laughs might break out without 
one of them being directed at hfr. Halstead Tvowan had 
kept his own face perfectly serene so far, but he evidently 
began to feel twitchings around the mouth which might give 
him trouble directly, and, for fear of the worst, he fired his 
concluding shots with great rapidity. 



THK COWARD. 267 

" You were in London, of course ?" he asked» 

" Yes, a good while ; we took a house there, and seen the 
Queen, and the Crystal Palace — " 

"Let me see — the Queen lives in the Crystal Palace, 
doesn't she ?" 

" Of course she does !" answered the traveller, who re- 
membered just so much as that queens and palaces belonged 
together, and no more. 

More laughing at the back of the w^agon, a little choking, 
and some stuffing of cambric handkerchiefs into mouths pretty 
or the reverse. Ko irreparable explosion as yet, though that 
catastropfle could not possibly be long deferred. 

" Yes — you were in London : did you go up the Pyra- 
mids ?" 

" No, we went to 'em, but not up 'em." 

" But you went up the Alps, of course ? — everybody goes 
up the Alps." 

" Of course w^e did !" and the lady really bridled. " Think 
we would go so far as that and spend so much money, and 
not go up that there ?" 

The explosion was impending — there was already a rum- 
bling in the distance, which should have been heeded. 

" How did you go up — in what kind of a vessel did you 
Gay, madam ?" 

It is to be presumed that by this time the lady w^as con- 
siderably confused even in the smattering of information from 
the guide-book, with which she had commenced ; and she 
could not have had any moral doubt remaining that the Alps 
was a river ; for she answered, without one symptom of con- 
sciousness in her countenance : 

" We went up in a steamboat, and a nasty little thing it 
was !" "^ 

The threatened explosion had arrived. That w^ngon-load 
of people laughed, shrieked and roared, bent doul)le and 
chuckled themselves red in the face, to a degree which was 
very discreditable to their sense of propriety and very be- 



, 268 T H B COWARD. 

wildering to the mountain echoes. Mrs. Brooks Cunning- 
hame looked around to see wliat was the matter, and at that 
moment it seemed that a dim perception must have crept 
through her head that she had something to do with the mer- 
riment, for she reddened, bridled and grew strangely silent. 
Halstead Rowan, as she looked around, — not by any means 
joining in the laugh, had suddenly discovered that his legs 
were cra'mped from riding, sprung over the side of the wagon 
and disappeared behind a bend of the road^ to make the rest 
of the short distance to the Flume House on foot. 

A mile further, after this novel lesson in geography had 
been taken, and the wagons drew up at the door of\he Flume 
House, once a great caravanserai that rivalled any other in the 
mountains, then a mere unoccupied pendant of the all-absorb- 
ing Profile which has literally swallowed it. It stands at the 
lower end of the Franconia Notch proper, and the mountains 
fall away below it southward, so much that the feeling of op- 
pressive isolation at the Profile is here lost entirely. But 
there is one charm connected with the Flume House, that can 
never be forgotten by those who have once stood there and 
looked eastward ; and the merry occupants of the before-de- 
serted piazza, that day, were not likely to be allowed to ride 
away without having that charm called to their attention, to 
be remembered ever after as one of those marvels with which 
Nature confounds Art and defies calculation. 

Full before them, as they looked, loomed up the peak of 
Mount Liberty, so called, as is supposed, because the curve 
of the crown northward has some indefinite resemblance to 
the Phrygian liberty-cap of the French revolution. But a 
sadder and more solemn resemblance was there, needing to 
be pointed out at first, but asserting itself as a strange reality 
thenceforward, in presence or in absence. It was with a thrill 
of awe that the riders, as so many had done before them and as 
some of them had done long before, recognized the form of the 
Dead Washington, stretched out on the summit of the eternal 
mountains that seemed almost 'niighty and enduring enough 



THE COWARD, 269 

for tbeir awful burthen. There seemed a little obscurity in 
the nioutl) and lips, as if the shrouding pall partially covered 
them; but the contour of the massive nose was perfect, as 
the rugged peak stood relieved against the eastern sky, and 
above it the godlike forehead swept up southward and fell away 
again in the very curve of the hair drawn backward as it would 
be when lying in the calm repose of death. Northward the 
long round of Mount Liberty marked the full breast, 'sinking 
at the recumbent hip and rising again at the bend of the mas- 
sive knee; while still farther away and in the exact line of 
symmetry, one of the peaks of the Haystack group shot up 
and fell suddenly on the other side, as the drapery would do 
over the stiffened feet. Then the resemblance was complete, 
unmistakable, almost fearful ; and those who looked with 
reverent eyes realized that the Eternal Hand, thousands of 
years ago and in a mood that would write prophecy on the 
very face of the earth instead of recording it on tables of 
stone, had throned on the tops of the northern mountains 
an enduring likeness of that man yet unborn, whose glory 
was to gild every peak and fill every valley with the brightest 
and purest light of heroism. 

Long, and with reverent silence only broken by an occa- 
sional exclamation of wonder, the company gazed upon that 
strange spectacle, more sadly suggestive than any other of the 
wonders of the American continent. The voice of merriment, 
which had been ringing so loudly but a few moments before, 
Avas hushed, and tears lay nearer to the surface than laughter. 
It could not be otherwise than that the spectacle, impressive 
always, should blend itself with the sorrow of a thousand 
hearts and the peril of a land, and that something of almost 
superstitious omen should seem to lie in the recognition. 
There were no words to syllable the great thoughts of that 
hour. How could there be ? What tongue could have spoken 
what the heart so sadly reverberated to an inner sense that 
was subtler and better than hearing ? " H. T.," whose tongue, 
as Margaret Hayley and her companions heard it, had so sol- 



270 THE COWARD. 

emnly apostrophized the iron face of the Old Man of the Moun- 
tain in the moonlight of the night before, stood silent and with 
folded arms on the end of the piazza, his strange, dark face 
full of a feeling that seemed sad enough for death and yet 
determined enough for a life of almost terrible daring. He 
was alone. He seemed to have made, even distantly, but one 
acquaintance since alighting at the Profile ; and that one ac- 
quaintance, Halstead Rowan, had not yet paid all the penalty 
of his mischief in a walk to the Flume. He had no motive 
to speak : perhaps under no circumstances could he have done 
so before that company and wnth the knowledge that the eyes 
of Margaret Hayley might be bent upon him from the other 
end of that group of gazers. But the man wlio had read the 
patriotic secret of the Mountain Sphynx felt the weight of 
that hour — who could doubt it ? And if his lips had spoken, 
would not the words they uttered have been something like 
these, that have bubbled to other lips and yet been denied 
utterance, on the same spot and since the overcasting of our 
national sky by that dark cloud of war and that darker cloud 
of divided feeling, only to be rolled away in God's good time : 
*' Yes, look upon the Dead Washington, all of you, and 
prepare to bear the image away and keep it sacred in \^our 
heart of hearts. Dead and shrouded he lies, w^hose words 
might perchance have had power, at this fearful day in our 
history, to still the turbulent waves of passion and make us 
brothers once more. Dead and shrouded, w^hen the day of 
doom may be near, and when his sword, flashing at the head 
of the armies of the republic, might have blinded treason and 
struck terror to the heart of the reliellion. Dead and shroiKled, 
to wake not at the trump of war or the call of national peril. 
Yet look down upon us from the granite mountains that bore 
thine image a thousand years ago and will bear it until tlie 
very form and feature of nature decay — look down upon us 
from the heavens that are higher and more enduring even than 
the eternal hills, and bless us with some ray of that courage 
which dared the iron rain of Princeton — of that patient en- 



THE COWARD. 271 

durance which braved the wintry snow of Valley Forge — of 
that honesty which bent a world in awe and admiration — of 
that solf-saerificint}: humility which thou<iht it but duty to re- 
fuse a crown ! Not in irreverence we speak, shadow of the 
great dead 1 Thou didst live, and we sprang into existence 
as a nation. Thou art gone, and we wander in the night and 
darkness of hatred, of strife, of murder — perhaps even totter 
to a fall from which there is no arising. If thou hast power 
in the eternal world, Washington who livest, so faintly shad- 
owed by the Washington that is dead — save us whom the 
might of no other nation can cast down — save us from our- 
selves 1" 

Hush ! the fancy so reverently assumed cannot be cast off 
in a moment. Hush ! — was not that low rumbling in the 
north which men call thunder, the voice of the Giant of Mount 
Liberty turning suddenly in his grave-clothes to answer the 
appeal ? God ! — if it might be so ! — " Oh, for an hour of 
Hickory Jackson !" cried the agonized nation when the first 
paralysis fell upon our men in power : oh, for one moment of 
George Washington now ! 

The Celt looks for the awakening of Brian Boroihme from 
his long sleep in the Wicklow mountains, falsely called his 
death, after the red field of Clontarf, and for the deliverance 
of Ireland from the Saxon oppressor, which is to follow ; the 
German is still waiting for the sounding of that horn which 
is to start Frederick the Redbeard from his repose in the 
Kypphauser, where the faithless laid him to rest, believing that 
he was dead, after his charmed bath in the Cilician Cydnus ; 
even the old soldiers who guard the mighty dust of Napoleon 
beneath the dome of the Invalides, speak of the "Midnight 
Review" in other words than those of Friederich Freiligrath 
and hold a dim impression that the life of Austerlitz and the 
Pyramids must linger even after St. Helena : why may-not 
the patriot heart of i\merica believe that the man who of all 
others best represented the full glory of a nation, is immortal 
in body as in spirit, and that the Father of his Country will 



272 THE COWARD. 

some day dash out from the sarcophagus that holds him pris- 
oner at Mount Vernon, — to shame recreanc}% to hurl incapa- 
city from power, and to save, in its dark hour, the fabric that 
his great soul loved and his great hand builded '{ 

No ! — that awful presence lies unmoved on its bier on the 
peaks of the mountains, tlie blue sky the canopy of its cata- 
falque, the waving trees the plumes of the warriors who guard 
it, and the hoarse storm wind its requiem. And while it so 
sleeps, the future of the republic, which seems to us in darkness, 
lies really in a Hand that knows no death and never changes 
in its unfaltering purpose I 

But the saddest as well as the sweetest things in life have 
an end, and the halt of the company at the Flume House, 
that morning, supplied no exception to the rule. Just as the 
wagons were once more loaded, Halstead Rowan came strid- 
ing up, his cigar smoked out, and his face the most uncon- 
scious imaginable, and took the seat which he had not long 
before vacated. Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame was very busy, 
at that period, looking after some of the details of arrangement 
of Master Brooks Brooks' dress, \vhich had become slightly 
disarranged ; and perhaps she did not see him. Let us sup- 
pose so, for she certainly did not notice her late student in 
geography. She was a little red in the face, which let us 
also suppose to have been the effect of the weather and not 
of mortification. And so all once more in place, away dashed 
the wagons to that marvellous gap in the mountains 
which gives name to the house. The road seemed very 
rough and broken, the rises and descents grew sharper, and 
the forest scenery wilder. Galloping his four horses up a 
steep ascent to the left, each- driver vigorously applied the 
brake as the wagons literally slid down the very sharpest bit 
of road descent to be found at the Franconia (except perhaps 
on some portions of the Bald Mountain) — a descent so 
sudden, and overhanging a ravine so frightful, that some of 
the handsome eyes looked larger than ever for the moment, 
all the riders involuntarily threw themselves back in the 



T H E C O W A K I> . 2 I o 

laboring and creaking wagons, and pretty little screams that 
had no affectation in them emancipated themselves from rosy 
lips and took excursions out into the summer air. Then thun- 
dering over a rickety wooden bridge, almost at the bottom of 
the ravine, and up another slight ascent, the wagons stopped 
under a clump of wide-spreading trees at a rough platform, 
and disembarked their passengers, leaving all to follow their 
will in examining that wonder of nature in one of her frolio 
moods. 

And what was the Flume like, to those who that day saw 
it for the first time ? An irregular crack or fissure in the 
side of the mountain, half a mile long, and from ten to fifty 
feet in depth, such as the wedge of some enraged Titan might 
have made when he had determined to split the earth asunder, 
and used the thunder as a beetle. Whether he was frightened 
by the big oval boulder which fell into the fissure half w^ay 
up, and has ever since hung suspended there, touching only 
at the points, and apparently ready to fall at any moment — 
who shall say ? At all events, if he intended to disrupt the 
earth he desisted for the time ; and let us be duly thankful ! 

Walking laboriously over the broad flat stone platform at 
the mouth of the gorge, with the thin sheet of bright water 
straggling over it, then ascending the rough stairs of board 
that lay irregularly on either side, and anon climbing care- 
fully over the mossed and slippery rocks that offered such 
precarious foothold, the party ascended the Flume and stood 
at last between walls of less than six feet separation, the 
rock rising fifty or sixty feet on either side, and almost as 
square as if cut by the chisel of an artificer, impassable slimy 
boulders piled in confusion far ahead, the rough little stream 
tumbling away through tiie wilderness of stones beneath, and 
a ciiill dampness like that of the grave striking in to the 
very life-blood of those who had been imprudent enough to 
tempt the mountains without the protection of thick garments 
and warm flannels. Once, a little white Blossom of the 
company, just unfolding to the June luxuriance of woman- 
17 



274 T H K cow A R D. 

hood, and whose name has no interest in this narration, was 
tempted by a mischievous relative and protector to try walk- 
ing a rounded and slippery log that bridged the chasm, a 
few feet above the rough rocks and water below ; but her 
nerves failed and hev head grew dizzy when she was half way 
across, her lip quivered and then fluttered out a little cry of 
alarm, and her miijciiievous tempter retraced his own steps 
just in time to catch her and keep her from an ice-cold bath 
and limbs bruised on the rough stones lying in the stream 
underneath. 

There was another log spanning the Flume, a little higher 
up the chasm, and at a very different altitude from terra 
firnia — hanging, in fact, like a stout black fence-rail, not less 
than eighty or an hundred feet in the air. Encircled by tho 
eternal dampness rising out of the Flume, it could not be 
otherwise than slimy and slippery ; and only a moment before 
the nameless Blossom tempted the log below, some of tho 
company had looked up and remarked with a shudder that a 
firm foot and cool head would b^ necessary for the man who 
should tread over that frail bridge with its crumbling bark. 
As if the two had some mysterious connection, the moment 
after Blossom's misadventure, some one heard voices in that 
direction and looked up again. Two figures stood upon the 
brink, and not so far away but that at least sorae of the group 
below recognized them as " H. T." and Halstead Rowan, 
who had left the rest as they abandoned the wagons and 
commenced ascending the gorge. 

Among those w4io' looked up was Margaret Hayley, and 
her eyes were among those that recognized the two figures. 
What those people were to her, or why she said " Look !" in 
a quick and even agitated voice, probably the young girl 
could have told quite as little as either writer or reader ; but 
such was the fact, and the motion of her eyes at the moment, 
accompanied by the word, drew the regards of both Captain 
Hector Coles and Mrs. Burton Hayley, w^ho stood beside her 
at the bottom of the Flume. They, too, with the others, 



THE COWARD. 275 

hoiird the words and saw tlie action that immediately fol- 
lowed. 

Ilalstead llowan hud one foot thrust forward on the log, 
his other on the firm ground behind. " II. T." stood on the 
rock beside him, making no motion to cross. There was evi- 
dently a banter between them, and though they were probably 
not aware of the fact, their words were readily distinguish- 
able beneath. 

'* None of my business, I suppose ; but it is folly !" they 
heard spoken by the voice of " H. T." 

" I suppose that every thing is folly which goes out of the 
hum-drum track of every-day life !" they heard Rowan reply. 
"But I like folly, and so here goes ! AVill you follow me ?" 
" Without wanting to go over ? — no I" was the answer. 
The words had scarcely left his lips when llowan sprang 
forward on the log, stepping lightly, but balancing himself 
with some care, towards the other side. Insensibly all who 
saw him held their breath. If he should be correct enough 
in his balance, who could say that the log might not be a 
rotten shell, ready to fall under the heavy weight of the stout 
athlete ? In fact, he had scarcely reached the middle when 
the tottering fabric seemed to give way and come top})ling 
down into the chasm below. Not in reality ; for had it done 
so, the career of the Illinoisan, with whom we have by no 
means finished, would have been ended for all time. The 
startling appearance was created by the dislodging of a large 
shell of the rotten bark by his. foot, more than half costing 
him his balance, and bringing out from the group beneath a 
chorus of cries that might well have disturbed what remained 
of equilibrium. One cry sounded sharper and higher than 
all the rest: there were those present who knew from whose 
lips it came : enough for us to say that it did not come from 
those of Margaret Hayley, whose eyes were still turned up- 
ward with a feeling in them very different from fear. Before 
the cry had fairly died away, the peril, whatever it might 
have been, was past, and Halstead Rowan stood on the other 



276 THE COWAKD. 

side of the cbasm, bowing to the grroup wlio had been ob- 
serving him, as he learned from the cries, at the bottom. 
The\' saw " H. T." turn and walk awa}^ at the same moment ; 
and then, drawing a long breath, Margaret Hayley said, much 
more to herself than to her immediate companions : 

"What a thing beyond all admiration is that courage !" 

" AYhich our other friend does not seem to be troubled with 
in any great degree !" said Captain Hector Coles, finishing 
out the sentence with a tone perceptibly sneering. Margaret 
looked round at him with a look which might have been one 
of inquiry, then turned awayher face again and said : 

" No, I suppose not ! Not more than half the world can 
be demigods : the others must be common people, or worse I" 

Whether Captain Hector Coles liked the tone of the replv, 
or not, is uncertain. At all events he scowled a little and 
said nothing more, while Mrs. Burton Hayley stole a look 
into' the face of her daughter which had no hypocrisy in it and 
was full of wonder and trouble. 

Five minutes afterwards the company were all again at the 
mouth of the Flume, and there Halstead Rowan, a second 
time the hero of the day, joined them. " H. T." did not make 
his appearance : he had struck across, the Illinoisan said, with- 
out waiting for him, over the almost impassable fallen timber 
and through the spruce thickets, by the cross-path to the 
Pool. A few minutes more sufficed to re-seat the group in 
their wagons and to deposit them once more at the door of 
the Flume House, whence they took their way on foot, strag- 
gling in every picturesque variety of locomotion towards that 
equally-curious pendant of the Flume which is often missed 
by those who visit the better-known wonder. 

The Pool lay all alone, uniil this somewhat numerous com- 
pany came to disturb its solitude. A singular object indeed 
— an exaggeration of all the other mountain amphitheatre 
fountains, nearly round, a score or more of yards in diameter, 
with the toe of the horse-shoe scooped out of a solid rock 
thirty or forty feet in height, smoothed and rounded as if cut 



THE COWARD. 277 

by human hands, a bright, clear stream dashing down at that 
point, the rocks further away from the toe rising broken and 
jagged to the height of perhaps an hundred feet, and the mode 
of approach of the passengers a jagged line of ricketty steps, 
terribly perpendicular, sloping down from that highest point 
and presenting no temptations to the decrepit or the nervous. 
At the bottom of this singular basin the water, bright and clear 
in the few places where it ran shallow over the bleached 
stones, but under the shadow of the ledge so deep as to seem 
black as midnight. , 

" Nobody here ! — it doesn't seem like old times !" said an 
elderly gentleman who had visited the Pool many times in 
other days, — as the ladies were with some difficulty assisted 
down the steps. " No boatman, and not even a boat I Where 
is Charon, I wonder ?" 

" Oh, yes, where is Merrill ?" asked another. '' The man 
with the leaky scow and the white muslin awning, who al- 
ways charged a York shilling for ferrying people over to the 
Elysian Fields lying among the rocks and logs yonder." 

"I remember, once," said the old gentleman, " that while 
his lieutenant paddled us around under the spray of the fall 
yonder, and over to the steps which used to hang from the rocks 
there on the opposite side, Merrill read us an autograph letter 
from Queen Victoria, dated in the kitchen at Buckingham 
Palace while the august lady said that she was rolling apple- 
dumplings, — and also gave us a lecture on geography, in 
which he proved that this spot was the very centre of the 
earth, from which all latitude and longitude ought to be cal- 
culated." 

" Well, he was right in some degree," said Halstead 
Rowan, who stood near, and who fixed his regards at the 
same moment on Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame, still looking 
after the welfare of that interesting child. There was not 
even the suspicion of a smile upon his face as he went on, 
and there certainly was not upon the face of the lady for 
whose benefit the discourse was evidentl}' intended. " I do 



278 THE COWARD. 

not know about the latitude and longitude, but this Pool ig 
certainly the centre of the earth and exactly opposite to 
Cliina, so that a plummet, with o. line long enough, dropped 
here, would be certain to come out somewhere on the shores 
of the Hoangho or the Kiangku." 

" Nonsense 1" said one grave lady (not Mrs. Brooks Cun- 
ninghame) who did not appreciate the joke. 

" Not a bit of it, madajue !" said the scamp, who thereupon 
turned his battery at once in her direction. " There is no 
doubt whatever of the truth of the statement, for I have been 
here myself when the defunc* pig-tailed Chinamen came pop- 
ping up, who had committed suicide by drowning themselves 
on the other side of the world, on account of the cruelty of a 
copper-colored divinity with almond eyes and feet the size 
and shape of the last dumpling in the pot, or a trifling defi- 
ciency in the rat-crop or the dog-census." 

** Impudence !" muttered that lady, who seemed to regard 
thre " whopper" as a personal insult ; but the majority of the 
company appeared to view the affair in a very different light 
and to be rather pleased than otherwise with the go-ahead 
fellow who could walk over verbal and physical bridges with 
the same charming recklessness. It may be anticipating to 
say that there was one among them, whose face had paled 
when he trod the log over the Flume, and who could not 
even laugh at the light words which she otherwise enjoyed, — 
so much deep and new and strange feeling lay at the bottom 
of the interest. And it may not be anticipating, in the minds 
of any who have perused the late foregoing pages with due 
attention, to say that that silent, thoughtful, observing one 
was Clara Yanderlyn, between whom and the Illinoisan there 
yawned a gulf of circumstance and position so wide and 
deep that no one but a madman (or what is madder still — a 
mad ivoman) could possibly have dreamed of stepping over it. 



THE COWARU. 279 



CHAPTER XIV. 



A DisASTm TO Master Brooks Buooes Ctjnninqhamk- 

EXIT INTO THE BOTTOM OF THE P00t_ NOBOI.Y THAT 
CO.LB SVVIM, A.I, MAKOARET Ha.LEV ,N ExOTEMENT- 
" H T " IN HIS ELEMENT, IN TWO SENSES— ANOTHER InTRO- 
:,UCTION AND A NEW HeRO-ScENES ,N THE PROFILE PAR- 
MR-llOWAN AND ClAEA YaNDEELYN-THE InSULT. 



"BCT What has become of the crazy old philosopher.' 
asked the same elderly gentleman who had first Introduced 
the subject,_only a moment after Halstead Rowan had do- 
livered himself of his speculations concerning the centre of 
the earth, China and suicide, given at the close of the la=,t 

"^'-S'" answered Rowan, " I was asking Jennings about 
bim this morning, before we came away from the Profile^ 
Did you ever hear of the mode in which the two Irishmen 
conducted their little debate, which ended in a couple of 

broken heads ?" 

"I do not know!" laughed the old gentleman. 

.< Well thev debated phvsically-they held what they calh^d 
a little 'd'ishc^ssion wid sticks' ! Poor old Merrill got into a 
debate with the Sheriff of Coos County, last spring a year 
Jennings tells me, and he carried it on with an a.r. nearly 
killing the official. The result of all which was that he was 
lng<^ed oif to jail at Wells River and the Pool '^ bereaved. 

^. Sorrv that his boat is not here, at least," said the old gen- 
tleman. '"We have just a nice party for circumnavigating 
the Pool : and I do not know that even the letter from Queen 
Victoria and the lecture would be so much of a bore, now 
that thei-e is no danger of them." . 

" Couldn't manage to get up a boat, unless we >n\P™^'^*'^ 
one out of a los," said the lUinoisan, " and that would be a lit- 
tle unstable, I>ancy. And by the way, I think I never saw 



280 THE COWARD. 

a place more daDgerous-looking for a sudden tumble than that 
deep black pool, or one more difficult to get out of than it 
would prove without something afloat to depend upon. So 
we must give it up — the glory of the Pool has departed ! Sic 
transit gloria big hole in the woods !" 

At that moment, and when the attention of the whole com- 
pany had been drawn to the peculiar depth and quality of the 
Pool by the last observations — an event took place which 
may or may not have been paralleled in the earlier history of 
that peculiar wonder of nature. Sambo, of those days when 
the negro only half ruled the great Western republic instead 
of ruling it altogether, — related a story about a 'coon hunt of 
his, in which an episode occurred at about the time when be 
had climbed out upon an extending limb that was supposed 
to haye the 'coon at the end. "Just then," said Sambo, 
graphically — "just then I heard sumfin drap, and come to 
look, 'twas disyer nigger I" The party of visitors at the 
Pool heard " sumfin drap" about as suddenly and unex- 
pectedly ; and w^hen they had time to look around them, they 
discovered that one of their number was missing — not a very 
valuable member of the combination, but still one that was 
supposed to have the usual immortal soul and antipathy to 
sudden death. 

There never was a troublesome boy of an age correspond- 
ing to that of Master Brooks Brooks Cunninghame, who did 
not have the propensity for climbing developed in exact pro- 
portion to the incapacity for climbing at all ; and Master 
Brooks Brooks had not done half mischief enough that morn- 
ing to be content without making another effort. As the 
party climbed down to the Pool, some of the members had 
spoken of the clearness of the water and the coolness which 
it was said to possess even in the heat of midsummer ; and 
one of the ladies had extracted from her reticule one of those 
telescopic ring driuking-cups of Britannia which are found so 
convenient in touring or camping-out. Captain Hector Coles 
had volunteered to play Ganymede to the rest of the com- 



THE COWARD. 281 

pany, and stepping down to the edge of tlic Tool, balanced 
himself witli one foot on a projecting stone, stooped down 
and dipped up some of the sparkling coolness, which was 
thereupon passed around from hand to hand and from lip 
to lip. That done, Master Brooks Brooks had been allowed 
to possess himself of the cup, very much to the disgust of the 
owner, but inevitably — and to make various demonstrations 
with it, around the verge of the water. For a moment every 
one had lost sight of him— his careful mother included ; and 
during that moment he had climbed round to the western side 
of the Pool, on the high rocks, where he stood brandishing 
the cup in a series of motions which varied between mischief 
and idiocy. Then and there an accident, not uncommon to 
persons who climb to high places and are not careful of their 
footing there, had happened to the young scion of the baronial 
house of Cunninghame, who, losing balance in one of his 
gyrations, tumbled down some twenty or thirty feet of rock 
and went splash ! into the Pool, just where the waters seemed 
deepest, darkest and most unfathomable ! 

Exit from view Master Brooks Brooks Cunninghame, with 
a fair prospect, to all appearance, that he would carry out the 
laughable theory of Halstead Rowan, and if he ever again 
came to light at all, do so in a drowned condition at the an- 
tipodes. Droll enough, in a certain sense, but by no means 
droll in another, for that he would be drowned, even in that 
insignificant little puddle of w^ater, was almost beyond doubt, 
and there were supposed to be maternal feelings even be- 
neath the ridiculous finery of Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame ! 
All heard the cry of fright that he gave in falling, and the 
splash as he struck the water ; and at least a part of the com- 
pany not only saw him disappear beneath the surface, but 
caught glimpses of him as he went on down — down — down 
towards the bottom with the unerring steadiness of a stone. 

They saw him sink, but they did not see him rise again — 
not even in the time which should have secured that result. 
Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame uttered a scream when she saw 



282 THE C O W A K D . 

the boy strike the water, then yelled out: "Patsey ! oh, my 
poor Patsey !" an exclamation entirely enigmatical as refer- 
ring to a person bearing no such name, — then finally fell back 
into the arms of one of the old gentlemen in such a way as 
seriously to threaten his tumbling in after the boy, and with- 
out the least necessity for shamming nervousness to ape the 
*' quality." She had indubitably fainted. 

The situation was a peculiar one. Scarcely twenty seconds 
had elapsed since the boy's fall, but an hour seemed to have 
passed. He did not rise. It was likely that he must have 
been killed in the fall or struck a rock below and crushed his 
poor little head. Still other seconds, growing to more than 
a minute, and he did not rise. It was beyond doubt that he 
would never rise again, alive. And what could be done to 
save him ? Nothing — literally nothing, as it appeared. All 
the party were ladies, except five men — Captain Hector Coles, 
Halstead Rowan and three others, all the latter white-haired 
and past the day for heroic exposure. Halstead Rowan had 
his wounded hand wrapped in a heavy bandage which would 
have disabled him in the water as thoroughly as if he had 
lost the limb at the elbow. For either of the old men to 
plunge into the Pool would have been suicide. Margaret 
Hayley stood beside Captain Hector Coles, the only young 
and unwounded man, when the accident occurred ; and after 
one moment her eyes turned upon him with a glance that be 
too well understood. 

" I am ashamed to say it, but I cannot swim one stroke !" he 
replied to that glance of half appeal and half command. The 
glance — unreasonably enough, of course — expressed some- 
thing else the instant after. 

" Oh, shame ! — can nothing be done to save him ?" she 
cried with clasped hands and in a tone that manifested quite 
as much of the feeling of mortification as of anxiety. At 
that period nearly all the women present broke out into cries 
of terror, as if help could be brought to the helpless by the 
appealing voice. 



T 11 E CO VV A KL>. 283 

" Good heavens, ladies, what is the matter ?" 

It was the voice of ''II. T." that spoke, and the man of 
the initials stood on the other side of the Pool, where he had 
emerged from his laborious walk over fallen trees and broken 
rocks from the Fhime. He had his hat in his hand and was 
wiping the perspiration from his hot brow. 

Margaret Hayley, more moved beyond herself than any 
of the others present (the poor mother had not yet recovered 
consciousness) was the first to answer; though she little 
tiiought that perhaps the destiny of a whole life was involved 
in the few words then to be spoken, 

'' Oh, sir, if you can swim, for heaven's sake try to save 
that boy ! He has fallen into the Pool, there — there — "and 
she pointed with her hand to the very depth of the dark water 
— " and he must be at the bottom !" 

" He in at the bottom, without doubt, if he has fallen in !" 
was the answer. " I saw him filling his pockets with bright 
stones, up at the Flume, and he has probably enough of them 
about him to keep him at the bottom till doomsday." Then, 
for the first time, the anxious watchers knew the reason why 
even in the death-struggle the body had not risen — the poor 
little fellow had been loading himself down with those tempt- 
ing, fatal stones, to make more certain the doom that was 
coming ! 

" Can you swim, sir ? I asked you if you could swim !" 
Margaret Hayley 's voice rung across the Pool, with no little 
impatient petulance blended with the evident anxiety ; and 
she seemed totally to forget, as people will forget on some 
occasions, that she had never been introduced to the man 
whom she interrogated so sharply. 

" I can swim !" was the answer and the only answer. 
With the word he threw off his coat and kicked off the con- 
venient Congress gaiters that enveloped his feet ; and in ten 
seconds more he had leaped high into the air and headlong 
into the dark waters at the spot indicated by the hand of 
Margaret. So sudden had been all this, that scarcely one 



284: THE COWARD. 

realized, until he had disappeared, the whole peril he en- 
countered. 

" He will strike the stony bottom and kill himself !" said 
one of the elderly gentlemen. 

" Hot as he was, he will die with the chill, if he ever comes 
out !" said the second, who had medical warrant for knowing 
the probable consequences of such an act. Whereupon all 
began to realize that two deaths instead of one migiit be the 
probable event; and Margaret Hayley set her teeth hard and 
clasped her hands in the agonized thought that perhaps her 
words had driven him to the rash leap, and that he must be 
either that thing for which she had been so long looking, a 
man incarnately brave, — or willing to go out of his own 
nature at her command, after less than a single day's ac- 
quaintance — the latter feeling one not slow to awaken other 
and warmer companions in the bosom of a true woman ! 

After those words had been spoken, dead silence reigned 
except as broken by a sob of deadly anxiety from one of the 
ladies who could not control the fear that oppressed her. 
And how long that silence of oppressive anxiety lasted ! It 
might have been a moment — it might have been five years, 
for any capacity of measurement given to a single member of 
that waiting group scattered over the rocks. Only the 
whilome watcher by a sick bed which might be one of death, 
at the instant when the crisis of disease was reached and the 
next minute was to decide between a life of love and useful- 
ness and the drear silence of the grave — only the man who 
has lifted his faint signal of distress on a drifting wreck at 
sea, when a sail was in sight, the last crust eaten, and night 
and storm coming to end all, — only one or the other of these 
can realize the long agony of such moments and the eternity 
which can be compressed into the merest fraction of time ! 

They had perhaps waited sixty seconds after the disappear- 
ance of the would-be rescuer beneath the dark waters of the 
Pool, and already every one had given him up for lost, — ■ 
when a ripple agitated its surface, a white-sleeved arm came 



THE COWARD. 285 

up, then a figure bearing anotlier. It battled wearily towardri 
the phoaler part of the Pool, touched bottom and struggled 
shoreward, dropped its burthen with one glance upon it, and 
then toppled over — both out of danger from the water, but 
both api)arently dead alike I 

In an instant all those above had rushed down to the mar- 
gin, and while some caught the drowned bo}^ and attempted 
to restore the life that seemed so hopelessly fled, others, and 
the medical man among them, devoted more than equal 
anxiety to the man who appeared to have paid so dearly for 
his heroism. He was senseless, but his pulse still beat — the 
doctor discovered so much ; and a fairer hand than that of 
the doctor sought the heart and found that the motion of that 
mysterious red current which bears the whole of life upon its 
bosom was not yet stilled forever. The hand was that of 
Margaret Hayley, who had drawn the head of the half- 
drowned man upon one knee while she kneeled on the bare 
stone with the other, and who seemed to feel that if that man 
died his blood would be upon her head and upon her soul I 
A dangerous position, Margaret Hayley, whether he lives or 
dies, for the w^oman who but yesterday dreamed that she 
kept her early love still undimmed in her heart, however the 
object of it might be clouded in shame and banished from her 
presence forever I Is that new ideal found already, and 
found in a man so wrapped in mystery that his very name 
has never yet been spoken in your presence ? ■ Fie ! fie ! if 
this is the eternity of love, about which lovers themselves 
have raved and poets worse raved in their behalf, any time 
these past five hundred years I 

There is no intention of mystifying this scene, or even of 
prolonging it. Whatever might have been the danger, that 
danger was past, and the shadow of death did not loom ghastly 
out of it. The vigorous shaking, rolling and rubbing to 
which the inanimate Master Brooks Brooks Cunninghame was 
exposed, under hands which proved themselves expert in that 
operation if in no other, soon restored the breath to his nostrils, 



286 THE COWARD. 

though it left him a limp rag: to be taken up in arms and 
carried away by his now recovered and half-addled mother. 
There was a sharp cut upon his head, and the blood flowed 
freely, but the wound had no depth or danger. The insen.si- 
bility which had fallen upon his preserver, induced much 
more as was believed by the sudden chill of that ice-cold 
water acting upon a heated system, than even by his long 
exertion in recovering the little fellow's body from the bottom 
of the pool— this soon gave way beneath the continued 
rubbing bestowed upon wrists and temples, and the warmth 
induced by the wrapping of all the shawls and mantles in the 
company about his shoulders and feet. He moaned once, 
only a few minutes after the efforts for his resuscitation had 
been commenced, and a moment or two later opened his eyes 
and saw what face bent over him most closely. Something 
ehe than the chafing and the unaccustomed robes then sent 
blood to cheek and brow ; and with a strength which no one 
had believed him to possess he sprang to his feet, to sink 
down again the moment after into a sitting posture but un- 
supported. 

In that position he for the first time appeared to glance 
round upon the company and to recognize the whole situation. 
Especially his eye fell upon Captain Hector Coles, who 
stood at a little distance, his arms folded and nothing in his 
appearance indicating that he had taken any part in the 
labors of resHiscitation, while his face looked undeniably 
saturnine and ill-humored. Had the mere fact that the head 
of a half-drowned man lay for a few moments on the knees 
of a lady supposed to be under his peculiar protection, so 
much moved the gallant warrior of the Union army, or was 
something more decided lying at the bottom of his obser- 
vance ? Perhaps words already spoken during the late 
progress of this narration may have indicated the state of 
feeling in the breast of the captain : if not, future develop- 
ments will have the duty of making plain all that may be 
yet doubtful in that regard. At all events, something in 



THE COWARD. 287 

that man's face gave to the brown cheeks of " H. T." a 
warmer color than they had before attained, and to his frame 
a strength which sent him once more to his feet, throwing 
off the shawls and mantles which enveloped him, and stand- 
ing bare-foot and in his shirt-sleeves, his hair yet plastered 
and dripping, his garments yet clinging to his person, the 
most unpicturesque of figures, and yet one of the noblest 
possible to employ the artist's pencil — a man fresh from one 
of the great perils of disinterested benevolence. 

Certainly Margaret Hayley saw nothing antagonistic to 
romance in that tall, erect figure, half-draped though it was 
and shivering yet with cold and weakness. It is not im- 
possible that the dusky brown of the face glowed with some- 
thing of a sacred light, to her eyes — a subject for her waiting 
hero-worship, after that sad feeling of an opposite character 
which it had so lately been her duty to manifest. Nothing 
else than such an estimation could well explain, in a woman 
of her overweening pride, movements which took place im- 
mediately after, and which bore their fruit, at no distant day, 
in placing her in a position of such terrible conflict wnth 
herself that no calamity occurring beneath the waters of the 
Pool but might have been reckoned a mercy in comparison. 

Halstead Rowan, too sure of his admiration of the conduct 
of his new friend to be in a hurry about expressing it, had 
done what his wounded. hand did not prevent his doing, by 
springing across the stream below and bringing the discarded 
shoes and coat from the rock where they lay. All the rest, 
except poor Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame, yet busy with her 
partially resuscitated boy, crowded round the new hero of 
the hour to offer their thanks and congratulations ; but it 
was Margaret Hayley who took him by the hand as he stood, 
unmindful of the scowd of Captain Hector Coles that gloomed 
upon her, and said : 

" I do not know, sir, by what name to thank you — " 

"I believe I am right in calling you' Miss Hayley," wa.3 
the answer, in a voice as yet somewhat weak and tremulous. 



288 T H K cow A It D. 

"My own Dame is Horace TowDsend, and my business is 
that of a lawyer at — at Cincinnati." So we, like those of the 
company who had noticed the initials without taking the 
trouble to possess themselves of the whole name by the 
arrival-book at the office, have the blanks filled at last, and 
may discard the use of the two mysterious letters. 

" I was only half intentionally the means, Mr. Townsend," 
the young girl went on, " of plunging you into a situation of 
danger without the least right to do so ; and yet I do not know 
that I can be sorry for the liberty I have taken, as it may have 
been the cause of saving a life that would otherwise have been 
lost, and of my witnessing an act of disinterested generosity 
which I can never forget, or forget to honor, w^hile I live." 

"You do me altogether too much honor," was the reply, in 
a somewhat steadier voice, " I have really done nothing, 
except to make an exhibition of myself by my weakness. 
There was no danger to me in the water, for I am a good 
swimmer and ought to be able to dive well ; but I suppose that 
I stayed too long under, for I could not find the little fellow at 
once, and the chill of the water no doubt affected me, after 
getting warm in climbing over those logs. That is all, and I 
really hope you will all forget that the unpleasant afi'air has 
occurred, as I shall certainly do after I have found a suit of 
dry clothes." 

He spoke pleasantly, but with nothing of the rattling gayety 
which seemed to characterize his rival of the day — the hero 
of the bear-stakes ; and once again while he was speaking, 
Margaret Hayley seemed strangely moved and partially shud- 
dered at something in the tones of the voice. As he finished, 
he bowed and turned away, as if quite enough had been said, 
and the lady also moved away a step or two and rejoined her 
escort. Halstead Rowan came up with the coat and shoes, 
and as he dropped them on the rock at the feet of Townseiid 
grasped his hand with his own unwounded one, with a pressure 
so warm and manly that it told volumes of respect and regard. 

"/ am nowhere !" he said. " I dared you over that log ; 



T U £ COWARD. -^y 

but you have gone where I should uot like to follow, aud douo 
it for something, while mine was merely a prank. And by the 
way—" they were at that moment a little apart from the others, 
and Rowan spoke low—" do you know where your head lay 
when you came to ?" • 

" Hush ! for heaven's sake, hush I" said Townsend, quickly 
and with something in his face that made the other pause in- 
stantly. The conversation, at that point, was not renewed there 

and then. 

A portion of the company had by that time commenced 
ascending the steps, carrying the abated boy-nuisance and 
accompanying his mother. Townsend managed to draw on 
the discarded shoes over his wet stockings, put on his coat 
and accompanied the rear-guard with very slight assistance, 
enjoying a continued walking-bath, but no doubt consoled for 
any discomfort by the reflection that he had been w^herc few 
men had ever plunged and come out alive,— and perhaps yet 
more moved by some other reflections of a much more mixed 

character. -r, /-i 

An hour later, the whole party had reached the Proh.o 
House once more, and Horace Townsend, as he named him- 
self and as we must continue to name him in deference to his 
own statement, was the happy possessor of a dry suit, a slight 
headache and an eventual nap which left him fresh as if ho 
had bathed in the Pool as a hygienic measure. Master Brooks 
Brooks Cunninghame needed longer renovating, but he camo 
round during the afternoon, with the fatal facility of those 
who are of no use in the world, and was quite ready for 
supper. And what a buzzing there was about the Profile ail 
the afternoon, while those who had witnessed the affair at the 
Pool detailed it, with additions, to those who had remained at 
the house, and those who had not caught the name or address 
of the stranger ran to the book to satisfy themselves, and 
speculations as to his married or single state were indulged 
in and the Cincinnati lawyer underwent, without his being 
thoroughly aware of the fact, all the mental manipulations 
18 



290 THE COWARD. 

and verbal remouldings incideDtal to any one who treads out 
of the common path, whether creditably or discreditably, 
among the half idle and more than half ennuyee habitues of 
a watering place. 

One or two additional peeps at events of that afternoon 
must be taken, before passing on to those of the evening, 
which were to prove quite as momentous in some regards. 

Peep the Jirst. Margaret Hayley kept her chamber all the 
afternoon, pleading headache and fatigue, while Mrs. Burton 
Hayley and Captain Hector Coles " did" Echo Lake and talked 
very confidentially. A large part of that time the young girl 
lay on her bed, her eyes closed but by no means sleeping — 
thinking, thinking, thinking, until her brain seemed to be in 
a whirl and all the world unreal. 

Peep the second. At a certain hour in the afternoon, un- 
known then to the other members of the Yanderljn family 
but too well known to them afterwards, as the sequel proved, 
Halstead Rowan, rapidly improving if not indeed presuming 
upon his acquaintance of the morning, enticed Clara Tanderlyn 
away to the ten-pin alley and inducted her into the art and 
mystery of knocking down bilstead pins with a lignum vitfe 
ball, apparently to the satisfaction of that young lady, who 
should certainly have held herself above such an amusement 
of the athletic canaille. If the lady, with two hands, beat 
her instructor with one, he was no more than justly punished. 

Peep the third. Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame, walking 
through one of the corridors, heard two young ladies, accom- 
panied by a gentleman, say : " Patsey ! oh, my poor Patsey !'* 
in such dolorous tones and with what seemed so meaning a 
look towards her, as tended to recall an unfortunate exclama- 
tion at the Pool very forcibly to her recollection, and to put 
her into a frame of mind the exact reverse of felicitous. This 
was not improved by the discovery that Mr. Brooks Cunning- 
hame had fallen into the company of certain stage-drivers, at 
the bar, and had imbibed whiskey with them to an extent 
which rounded his brogue but did not assure the steadiness 



THE COWARD. 291 

of his perpendicular or add to the respectability of his gen- 
eral demeanor. 

And now to the event of the evening, which seemed emi- 
nently fit to close a day so full of adventure that the move- 
ments of a dozen ordinary days might have been compressed 
into it. Most of this, from reasons which will eventually de- 
velop themselves, is to be seen through the eyes of one who 
has been before called "the observer." 

When Horace Townsend came out late from supper that 
evening, after a meal at which the succulent steaks, the flaky 
tea-biscuit and the sweet little mountain strawberries had not 
been quite so fully enjoyed as they might have been with a 
little additional company at table, — harp, horn and violin 
were again sounding in the long parlors, as tliey had been 
the evening before, and much more attention was being paid 
to them than whea the full moon was their momentary rival. 
Perhaps not less than half the beauty, grace and gallantry 
then assembled at the Profile, were gathered under the flash- 
ing lights, dancing, promenading, flirting, and generally float- 
ing down the pleasant stream of moderate watering-place 
dissipation. The Russian ''Redowa" was sounding from 
brass and string as he entered the long parlor from the hall ; 
and among the figures sweeping proudly by to that most 
voluptuous of measures, he instantly recognized two whose 
identity could not indeed have been very well mistaken under 
any circumstances. The larger and coarser figure wore on 
one of its hands a glove several sizes too large — one, indeed, 
that might have been constructed by some glove-maker of the 
Titan period : Halstead Rowan was whirling Clara Tander- 
lyn lazily around in the dance. 

The strange introduction of the morning, then, had already 
produced its effect, and the possible romance to be built out 
of that rescue was coming on quite as rapidly as even a sen- 
sation novelist could have anticipated. Horace Townsend, 
whose eyes seemed to be v/andering in search of some face 
or figure which did not fall under their view, but who had 



292 TUE COWARD. 

been gazing with undisguised admiration, for some hours tho 
previous day, on those of this very Clara Yanderlyn — Horace 
Townsend thought, as he saw the manly arm of Rowan span- 
ning the pliant white-robed waist of his partner, that seldom 
could the old illustration of the rugged oak and the clinging 
ivy be better supplied, — and that if fate and fortune had set, 
as they too evidently seemed to have done, an eternal bar 
between the two, they had predestined to remain apart one 
couple whom the fitness of nature would certainly have joined. 
His frank, hearty, manly energy, deficient in some of tho 
finer cultures and at times approaching to roughness, and her 
gentle, womanly tenderness, with almost too much of delicate 
refinement, seemed mentally to blend in the thought of the 
future and of the children likely to spring from such a union, 
as physically stood in relief and pleasing contrast the close- 
curled dark hair and the shower of waving gold. 

Passing still further down the room, either in that quest 
which has before been hinted at, or in the search for a vacant 
scat among the male and female wall-flowers, Townsend came 
upon the mother of the young lad}^ Mrs. Vanderlyn was 
standing beside a centre-table, under one of the chandeliers, 
an illustrated book in her hand, and apparently absorbed in 
the contemplation of some of the engravings after Landseer 
and Corbould. But books have been known, many times in 
the history of the world, to be used for the same purpose as 
fans or fire-screens, (or even spectacles, for that matter), and 
looked over ; and the lawyer felt a sudden curiosity awakened 
to examine the eyes, especially as the lady was standing in 
such a position as to command the dancers. 

He was not at all disappointed in the surmise which he 
seemed to have formed. The haughty matron had no eyes 
for her book, but really had her gaze fixed, with a close pres- 
sure of the eye-balls against the brows, on her daughter and 
Halstead Kowan. And no one who had only seen it under 
more favorable circumstances, would have believed it possible 
tljat a faco of ?;ich matronlv comeliness could be brought to 



THE COWARD. 293 

look so harshly — even vindictively. The eyes were literally 
fierce ; and the mouth was set with a firm, hard expression 
which brought the full lower lip perceptibly over the upper. 

Suddenly the observer saw the features relax and the whole 
expression change. He turned instantly and half involun- 
tarily, and saw that a substitution had taken place in partners. 
Without quiv^ting the floor, Miss Yanderlyn had accepted the 
proffered hand of a 3'oung Boston exquisite who was already 
rumored around the Notch to be the heir of a paternal half 
million, — and was whirling away in another polka. Kowan 
was ^one. A second glance showed that he had not left the 
room, but that he stood far back in one of the corners, alone 
und silent, and his eyes, heedless of the amount of observation 
which their glance might excite, fixed in profound admiration 
on the beautiful girl whom he had just quitted. Then the 
expression of his face seemed for the moment to change, and 
the same emotions might have been read there that had 
startled at least one of the spectators the evening before at 
the piazza — the same emotions of contending pride and abase- 
ment, hope and fear, but intensified now so that there could 
be no mistaking their import. 

At that stage Horace Townsend left the room, perhaps to 
pursue the personal search which had so far proved unavail- 
ing. He, who had himself been originally observing tho 
j^oung girl with such admiration, saw, or thought that he 
saw, the materials for a very pretty if not a very painful 
romance, in which the two would form the chief dramatis 
personas. Two or three conditions, he thought, were already 
evolved : an unmistakable mutual interest — observation and 
dislike on the part of the aristocratic mother — to be followed 
by eventual discovery on tho part of the weaker and yet more 
aristocratic brother — an unpleasant eclair ciHsement — coolness 
born of the very warmth underlying — a parting in pleasant 
dissatisfacMon with themselves and each other — and perhaps 
a shadow of blended sweet and painful memory over the 
whole of two after lives ! 



294 THE cow A ED. 

Then the lawyer passed out to the piazza and paced with 
measured step up and down that promenade and the plateau 
in front, for perhaps more than half an hour. He might have 
been entirely absorbed in the contemplation of the possible 
fortunes of Chicago and Baltimore; and he might have found 
matter for thought much more personal to himself. At all 
events the starlight and the coming moon seemed to be com- 
pany which he failed to find elsewhere ; and even the dusky 
shadows of the bears, deserted by their friends of the sun- 
shine and walking their weary rounds like sentinels, possibly 
supplied something denied him by humanity. His step was 
that of a man restless, absorbed and ill at case; his head had 
fallen forward on his breast ; and once, when he was so far 
away from the loiterers on the piazza that no ear was likely 
to catch his words, he muttered something that could scarcely 
have found an application to the persons of the drama in the 
parlor. That murmur ran : 

" I suppose this is the most dishonorable action in my 
life — planning to betray confidence and take an unfair advan- 
tage. Why did he tell me so much before he went to Europe ? 
Pshaw 1" and he put his hand to his brow and walked on for 
a moment in silence. " I will not go back — I will try the 
experiment — I will win that woman, if I can, under this very 
name, now that I begin to understand her weakness so well. 
And if I do — heavens, in what a situation shall I have placed 
her and myself ! And will she ever forgive the deception ? 
Xo matter ! — let the future take care of itself." 

Either the stars grew less companionable, then, at the 
thought that some strange deceit was being wrought beneath 
them, or the soliloquist felt that there yet remained something 
worth looking after within the parlor, for he looked up at one 
of the windows of the second story, said : " Ah, no light there, 
at last !" stepped back to the piazza and once more entered 
the house and the dancing-room. 

The music was still sounding as merrily as ever, and as he 
re-entered the room a new set was forming. In the very 



THK COWARD. 295 

midst of those who were preparing to join it, full under the 
blaze of the central chandelier, stood Clara Yanderlyn. She 
was for the moment motionless, and he had better opportunity 
than before of scanning her really radiant loveliness. She 
wore a simple evening-dress of white, with a single wild-flower 
wreathed in her bright auburn hair and a single jewel of 
value set like a star at the apex of the forehead, confined by 
a delicate and almost unseen chain of gold which encircled 
her head. Frank Yanderlyn, in full evening-dress, was stand- 
ing a few feet off, in conversation with some young men with 
w^hom he had already formed an acquaintance, and did not 
seem to be preparing to join the set. A hurried glance 
around the room did not show that either Mrs. Yanderlyn or 
Halstead Rowan w^as present. 

The band struck up a schottische, and all began to take 
partners. At this moment Mrs. Yanderlyn came through the 
door-way from the hall, sweeping in with more of that pro- 
nounced haughtiness which seemed indexed by her face and 
carriage, than any of the visitors at the Profile had before 
seen her exhibit, and creating a kind of impression upon 
those near whom she passed, that they were suddenly taken 
under proprietorship. She swept very near the lawyer as he 
stood at the left of the door- way, and passing down the room 
touched her son on the arm. And the lawyer could not, if 
he would (which seemed not over probable) have avoided 
hearing the single word that she uttered, almost in Frank's 
ear, and in a low, concentrated tone : 
" Remember !" 

Frank Yanderlyn nodded, with a supercilious smile upon 
his face, as though he understood the direction; and the 
stately mother swept down the room and partially disap- 
peared among the crowd of quiet people below. 

Clara Yanderlyn stood for the moment alone, as the band 
struck up. Whether she had received and declined invita- 
tions to dance, or whether no one had found the temerity to 
offer himself with the chance of refusal, seemed doubtful, for 



29G THE COWARD. 

bho certainly appeared to have no partner. Cut as the first 
couple moved forward to take their places, a tall form dark- 
ened the doorway for an instant, and Ilalstead Rowan wa-» 
again at the fair girl's side, his face literally radiant with 
pride and triumph. There was no word spoken at that mo- 
Tnent, and it would seem that there must have been somo 
previous understanding between them, for her hand was 
instantly placed v/ithin his arm when he offered it, and her 
face reflected his own with a look of gratification that any 
close observer could not well avoid noticing. 

Both had taken a step forward lo join the set, when an in- 
terruption took place of so painful a character as at once to 
call the attention of every one within hearing ; and Horace 
Townsend, standing very near, had a sudden opportunity to 
compare the reality with his unspoken foreboding of half an 
hour before. Frank Vanderlyn suddenly left the group with 
whom he had been conversing but a few feet away, stepped up 
to his sister, and before either she or Rowan could have been 
aware of his intention, drew her hand away from the arm of 
her escort, and somewhat rudely placed it within his own, 
with a bold glance at Rowan and the words : 

" Miss Clara Yanderlyn, if you wish to dance, your family 
would prefer that you should select a different partner from 
the first low-bred nobody who happens to fall in your way — 
a good enough ten-pin-alley companion, perhaps, but not 
quite the thing in a ball-room !" 

"Oh, brother!" 

The face of the poor girl, so foully outraged, first flushed, 
then whitened, and she seemed on the point of sinking to the 
floor with the shame of such a public insult and exposure. 
She might indeed have done so, under the first shock, had not 
the arm of Frank supported her. The next instant it was 
evident that all the pride of the Yanderlyns had not been ex- 
hausted before her birth, for she jerked away her arm from its 
compulsory refuge, and stood erect and angry — all the woman 
fully aroused. Her glance of withering contempt and scorn, 



THE COWARD. 207 

then directed at the ill-mannered stripling who called himself 
her brother, was such a terrible contrast to the sweet and al- 
most infantile smile which rested on her face in happier 
moments, that it would have been no difficult matter to doubt 
her identity. 

As for Halstead Rowan — at the moment when the cruel 
act was done and the insulting words were spoken, he turned 
instantl}^ upon the intruder, evidently failing to recognize him 
in the sudden blindness of his rage. His right hand, though 
the injured one, clenched as it might have done under the 
shock of an electric battery, and Townsend savr him jerk it 
to the level of Iiis shoulder as if he would have struck a blow 
certain to cause regret for a lifetime. But he had no occasion 
to interpose, for the outraged girFs " Oh, brother !" came just 
in time to prevent the commission of the intended violence. 
Instantly his hand dropped ; Clara Yanderlyn's expression 
of angry contempt, easily read under the full glare of the 
chandelier, chased the fierce rage from his face if it did not 
root out the bitterness from his heart ; he bowed low to 
the sister, cast a glance upon the brother w^hich he did not 
seem likely soon to forget ; and in another moment, passing 
rapidly between the few who surrounded the door-way, he 
touched Horace Townsend forcibly upon the arm, nodded to 
him with a gesture which the latter readily understood as a re- 
quest to follow, and the two passed out from the parlor, the 
hall and the house. 

It is not easy to describe the scene in the parlor which 
followed the denouement that has been so feebly pictured. 
The music sounded on, but the set remained unformed and no 
one seemed to heed it. The room was instantly full of con- 
versation in regard to the strange event, more or less loud in 
its tone. Frank Yanderlyn, calculating upon the sympathies 
of a company principally composed of wealthy and fashiona- 
ble people, looked around him as if for approbation of what 
he had done, but did not appear to receive it. It was not 
difficult for him to read in the faces near him that the sym- 



298 THE COWARD. 

pathies of the whole company were with the insulted person, 
most of the members of it, if they had no other reason for 
the feeling, remembering the event of the bear-steaks in the 
morning and thinking that if the Illinoisan was to receive any 
thing from the Yanderlyn family that day, it should have been 
gratitude instead of insult. Made painfully aware of this state 
of feeling, the young man paled, bit his lips, then passed 
rapidly out of the room and disappeared, leaving his sister 
still in the attitude of outraged sensibility and mortification, 
which she retained, uttering no word to any one and not even 
casting a glance around the room, until Mrs. Yanderlyn, who 
had apparently constituted herself the reserve force for the 
attack upon her daughter's dignity which Frank had so gal- 
lantly led, swept up from below and led her unresistingly 
away up the stair-case to their apartments. 

The set was finally formed, and a few more figures were 
danced in the parlor of the Profile that evening ; but the pain- 
ful incident just recorded had dulled the sense of enjoyment, 
and the company thinned out and eventually dispersed to 
earlier beds than they might have found under other circum- 
stances. 



CHAPTER XY. 

HoTT Halstead Rowan arranged that expected Duel 
— Ten-pins versus Bloodshed — Some anxiety about 
IDENTITY — The " H. T." initials, again — A farewell to 
the Brooks Cunninghames — An hour on Echo Lake, 

WITH A rhapsody AND A STRANGELY-INTERESTED LISTENER. 

This chapter must be unavoidably as fragmentary, not to 
say desultory, as some that have preceded it at considerable 
distance, the course of events in it seeming to partake in some 



THE CO W A R D . 299 

degree of the broken, heaped and heterogeneous quality of 
the mountain rocks amidst which they occurred. 

It has been seen that Halstead Rowan, quitting the room 
in which he had met with so severe a mortification, touched 
Horace TowQsend on the arm and made him a signal to follow, 
and that the. latter obeyed the call. Of course this obedience 
was a matter of courtesy that could not well be refused, and 
yet it was accorded with a feeling so painful that it would 
scarcely have been asked had the torture been foreseen. 
Rowan, as the lawyer knew, had been insulted before a com- 
pany of mark and numbers, in so deadly a manner that more 
than usual forbearance would be necessary to forgive the out- 
rage ; and the insulted man belonged, as the lawyer also 
knew, to a class of Western men not much more prone than 
those of the South and Southwest, to smother down a wrong 
under good-feeling or expediency. He had refrained from 
striking the insulter on the spot ; but that forbearance might 
have been merely the effect of a recollection that ladies were 
present, and the one lady of all among them ; and Horace 
Townsend no more doubted, during the moment that elapsed 
wiiile the two young men stepped into the reception-room and 
secured their hats from the table, that he was being called 
upon in the sacred name of friendship to act in an affair that 
would probably cost the life of one or both the antagonists, 
than he questioned the fact of his own existence. It is 
doubtful whether he did not believe, before the affair was 
concluded, that so strange a task had never been set for his 
friend, by any man incensed to the necessity of mortal combat, 
since the day when duelling proper had its origin in two 
naked savages going out behind their huts with knives and a 
third to look on, for the love of a dusky she-heathen with 
oblique eyes — down through all the ages, when Sir Grostete 
set lance in rest and met Sir Maindefer in full career, over a 
little question of precedence at the table of King Grand pillard ; 
when Champfleury and St. Esprit, beaux of the Regency of 
Orleans, with keen rapiers sliced up each other like cucuin- 



800 THE COWAKD. 

bcrs, bctwcon two bows and a dozen of grimaces, because one 
did not appreciate the perfume used bj the other ; until 
Fighting Joe of Arkansas and Long Alick of St. Louis cul- 
minated the whole art of single combat by a little encounter 
with rifles, followed by a closer embrace with bowics, at one 
of the Mississippi landings, instigated by the unequal division 
of the smiles of Belle Logan, of Western Row, Cincinnati. 
All which means, if the reader has not entirely lost the con- 
text, that the course pursued by Halstead Rowan, as a com- 
batant, was eventually found to be something out of the com- 
mon order. 

"You saw that, of course — I know that you did!" said 
rather than inquired Rowan, when they had reached the piazza 
and were out of hearing of any of the promenading groups. 

''I did," answered Townsend, with some hesitation and a 
wish that he could deny the fact and thus escape the duties 
certain to be forced upon him. "Yes, I saw it all, and it was 
most disgraceful. But I hope — " 

That intended lecture was lost to the world, as so many 
others have been ; for Rowan interrupted him : 

"Are you poor ?" 

" 'No, I cannot say that I am, in money !" was the surprised 
reply. 

" Were you ever ?" 

" No — I must answer in the negative a second time. I 
have never been what the world calls poor, since I can re- 
member." 

" Then you do not know how it feels," said the Illinoisan. 
" I am poor — I have never been rich, and I do not know that I 
have ever really wished to be so until a few moments ago. I 
wanted to buy a puppy, so that I could tie a stone to his 
jiock and drown him ; but I felt that I had not money enough." 

Townsend, still surprised and in a good deal of doubt 
whither the conversation was tending, murmured something 
about the fact that however decided the insult of the brother 
had been, evidently the sister did not share in the feeling. 



T il E W A K D . 301 

"She ? oh no, heaven bless her brown eyes !" he replied, 
rapidly and earnestly, while the other could see, in the light 
of the now fairly risen moon, that there was a strange sparkle 
in his own dark orbs. "As for the rest — well, heaven need 
not be particular about blessing them — that is all I But 
this gabble is not what I drew you out here for. I want you 
to do me a great favor, at once, and I ask you, because I seem 
to be better acquainted with you, after a very short time, 
than with any other person just now at the Notch." 

" XoW' it is coming — ^just what I dreaded !" said Townsend 
to himself; but he answered very differently, in a feeble 
attempt to stave off the trouble. 

" Than any other person ?" 

"Hold your tongue ! — you know what I mean !" was the 
reply. "Answer my question, yes or no — are you the man 
upon whom I can depend, to do me an immediate personal 
service that may involve some sacrifice of bodily comfort and 
perhaps of feeling ?" 

" I hope so — yes 1" answered Townsend. " But before you 
take any steps in this matter — " 

" Conditions already ?" asked Rowan. " I thought it was 
to be an unconditional yes or no !" 

" Well, it is 1" said Townsend, apparently satisfied that 
expostulation would after all be useless. 

"Enough said !" replied Rowan, catching him by the arm. 
"Come along with me to the alley, then, and roll me not less 
than five games of ten-pins." 

"But the business you wished me to do?" asked Town- 
send. " If it is to be done at all — " 

"Why, confound the man ! — what ails you ? That is the 
business !" 

" To roll you five games of ten-pins ?" 

"Exactly ! Why, what else should it be ? Oh, I see !'» 
and Rowan chuckled out a low laugh from his great throat. 
" I understand your tragic face, now. You thought that I 
wanted you as a friend, to — " 



302 TUE COWARD. 

■ ' "To challenge Frank Yanderlyn — precisely what I thought," 
said the lawyer, " and I consented to act because I thought 
that I might be better able than some other person to prevent 
any serious result." 

" To shoot her brother, merely because he is a fool ? — Oh, 
no, Townsend — you could not think that! Duelling is 
murder nearly always, and folly always when it is not a 
crime ; and if I should ever be driven into another duel, be 
sure that it would not be with an inexperienced boy who 
probably does not know half so much about a pistol as a 
pen-knife or a tooth-pick." 

" You are a true man, as well as a sensible one, and I 
honor you !" said the relieved lawyer, grasping him by the 
hand, and his face at the same time wearing a look, which, 
though unseen by the other, seemed actually to express per- 
sonal gratitude. 

" I do not know about the ' true man,' though I have tried 
to be so," answered Rowan, as they neared the door of the 
ten-pin alley. "But I suppose that perhaps I am the oddest 
mortal on the globe, and that may answer the same purpose. 
And now you are dying to know why I wish to roll ten-pin 
balls at this particular moment ? Simply because I need 
some way of working off this excitement that might lead me 
to commit a violent act if it did not find that very harmless 
physical vent. I have tried the experiment before, and I 
know what ten-pins are with a man of fiery temperan.iijt. 
Here, boy, set 'em up !" 

The alley was alone, except as to the sleepy boy ; but the 
loud call of the Illinoisan soon put the machiuery of the place 
into operation and the momentous games commenced. No 
matter how they progressed or how thjy ended in regard to 
winning or losing : it is only with some of the conversation 
which took place while the match was under way, that we 
have at present to do. 

" You are a law\-er and belong to Cincinnati, you said," 



THE COWARD. 603 

observed Rowan, as ho paused a moment to wipe his brow 
after thundering down half a dozen of the ponderous globes. 

** Yes, I said so," answered Townsend ; but he did not 
enlarge upon the answer, as he was obviously expected to 
do ; and one or two other questions, having the same scope, 
being parried at every point beyond the mere name, occupa- 
tion and place of residence, the Illinoisan began to suspect 
that there must be some motive for reticence, which he was at 
least bound to respect while he held the catechumen impressed 
in his own service. With reference to himself, a theme upon 
which the conversation seemed to turn very easily, (many of 
the stout, bluff, frank, go-ahead Rowans whom one meets in 
society have the same characteristic, fault or the reverse), — 
he manifested no corresponding nervousness ; and one mo- 
ment strangely silent as if under the influence of some 
thought which kept him too busy for speech, the next he 
would rattle on almost as glibly as the polished balls rolled 
down the pine floor. 

"You called yourself odd a little while ago, and I fancy 
that if you are odd you have the excuse of very wide expe- 
rience for a man of your age," said Townsend, a little later 
in the quintette of games, and certainly displaying a bit of 
the prying nature of the lawyer, if not the subtlety of the 
Jesuit, in the suggestion. " To tell you the truth, I (5annot 
quite place you in profession. A while ago I thought you 
possibly a steamboat-captain, but you have just upset that 
hypothesis by proving that you are nearly all the while on 
land ; and yet you seem to be perpetually flying about from 
one town to another. "What the deuce are you ?" 

" Oh, you cannot place me, eh ?" laughed Rowan, who was 
getting fairly s(5othed and mellowed by his creditable substi- 
tute for duelling. '' Well, I am a conductor on the 

Railroad, which you know has its terminus in Chicago, and 
I am off on a couple of months leave of absence from the 
Company. As to experience, I suppose that I may have 
had a little of it. I have been a civil-engineer, employed 



304: THE COWARD. 

at laying out some of the worst roads m the West, and 
of course laying them out the \Yorst. Have crossed the 
plains to California twice, and back again, including a look 
at Brigham and his wives at Salt Lake City, very nearly 
getting my throat cut, I fancy, in that latter operation. Did a 
little at gold-mining, for a short time, but soon quitted it out 
of deference to a constitutional backache when stooping. 
Have been here at the East a good many times, and once 
lived in Xew York, (a great deal worse place than Salt Lake 
City, and with more polygamy !) for a twelvemonth, tele- 
graphing. Once ran down to Santa Fe with a train, and 
came very near to being speared by the Comanches. Then 
concluded to stay among those amiable savages for a while, 
to learn to ride, and spent six months in the study. Xo man 
knows how to ride a horse — by the way — except an Arab 
(I take the word of the travellers for that, as I have never 
been across), a Comanche or an Arapahoe, or some one they 
have taught. There, have I told you enough ?" 

" Humph ! — yes," answered the lawyer, eying the strange 
compound with unavoidable admiration and no little wonder. 
" Yes, except one thing." 

"And that is about this scar ?" 

"I confess that my curiosity lay in that direction !" laughed 
Towusend. " I think that scar has not been long healed — 
that you have been taking a turn in the present war." 

"Yes, a short one," said the Illinoisan, " and that scar is 
one mark of it. I was a private in the ranks of the Xinth 
Illinois for a few months last year, and got pretty badly 
slashed with a Mississippi bowie-knife, with Grant, two or 
three days before they took Fort Donelson. They took it — / 
did not — I suppose that I did not amount to^much at about 
that period, with a little hack in the jugular that came pretty 
near letting out life and blood together !" 

Before this conversation had concluded, and long before 
the specified five games were accomplished, half a dozen per- 
sons from the hotel, male and female, came strolling in. 



THE C W A K D . 305 

Among them was Captain Hector Coles, with Margaret Haylcy 
upon bis arm. They stood at the head of the alley, looking 
at the game ; and Townsend, as he was about to make one 
of his most difficult rolls, recognized the lady and her slight 
nod and was sufficiently agitated by the presence of that 
peculiar spectator, to miss his aim entirely and roll the bail 
off into the gutter — a fact which did not escape the quick eye 
of the Captain. 

Directly, as the game still went on, some conversation oc- 
curred between the lady and her attendant, which, if over- 
heard, might have produced a still more decided trembling in 
the nerves of the ten-pin player. 

*'I know that I have seen that face before, more than once, 
and not in Cincinnati," the Captain said. " I believe that ho 
is a Philadelphian, and that his name is no more Horace 
Townsend than mine is Jenkins." 

" What motive could any one possibly have for coming to 
a place like this in disguise and with a feigned name ?" asked 
Margaret Hayley. 

*' Humph !" said the Captain, in a tone by no means good- 
humored, though it was low, as the previous words had been, 
" there are plenty of men who find it necessary to disguise 
names and faces now-a-days, for the very best of reasons." 

"Traitors ?" asked the lady. 

" Yes, traitors !" answered the Captain. 

''And tliat reason he has not, I know !" said Margaret. 
*• The man who uttered the words that I heard last night, is 
no traitor, and I do not think that I should believe the very 
angels of heaven if they should come down to make the asser- 
tion !" 

"You seem strangely interested in the man !" said the Cap- 
tain, his voice undeniably querulous. 

"And I have a right to be so if I choose, I suppose !" an- 
swered the lady, in a voice that if it was not querulous was 
at least signally decided. 
19 



306 TUE COWARD. 

" Oh, certainly I certainly I" was the reply, coming out be- 
tween set teeth. 

Silence fell for a moment thereafter, except as the crashing 
balls made music among the pins. Then it was interrupted 
by Rowan calling out to the lawyer, who seemed to stand 
abstracted and forgetful of the game. 

" Townsend !" 

No motion on the part of the person addressed, or any 
sign *hat he heard the utterance. 

" Townsend ! I say, Townsend I" 

Still no motion, or any recognition whatever of the name ; 
and it was not until the Illinoisan, who had just been making 
three ten-strikes in succession with his left hand, and who 
was naturally anxious to call the attention of his opponent to 
the exploit, touched him on the shoulder and literally shouted 
the word into his ear, that he paid any attention whatever. 

"Me? Oh!" 

" Did you notice that ?" asked the keen-witted Captain, 
returning to the charge, as a repulsed soldier should always 
do. "His name is not Townsend, and he has not been long 
in the habit of being called by it ; for it was forgetfulness 
that made him wait for it to be repeated three times !" 

There was triumph in the tone of the Captain, now ; and 
there was every thing but triumph in that of Margaret Hay- 
ley as she leaned heavily on his arm and said : 

"Pray do not say any thing more about it ! That man is 
nothing to me. Let us go back to the house." 

" Wait one moment 1 I am going to do something to sat- 
isfy myself. Do you see that handkerchief? Sometimes 
initials tell a story that trunks and hotel-books do not." 

The lawyer had thrown off his coat upon the chair behind 
him — a blue flannel coat, half military, which both remem- 
bered to have seen him wear after changing clothes from the 
accident at the pool. From the breast-pocket a white hand- 
kerchief hung temptingly almost half way out, and it was 
towards that that the hand of the officer dived downward. 



THE COWARD. 307 

The owner of the coat was some distance away, following up 
one of Lis flying balls, and was not likely to see the examina- 
tion made of his personal property, if it was done with quick 
hand and eye. 

"Hector Coles,, you would not do tliat!^^ 

But she spoke too late. With the stereot3'pcd lie on his 
lips that has been made the excuse for so many wrongs and 
scoundrelisms during all this unfortunate struggle, "All is 
fair in war-time !" the Captain whipped out the handkerchief, 
turned it quickly from corner to corner, glancing it to the 
light as he did so, and then as quickly returned it to the 
pocket, long before the owner had returned from watching 
the effect of his shot. Margaret Hayley had not intended to 
join in the reprehensible act, but she involuntarily did so, 
and she as well as the officer saw the initials "II. T." elabor- 
ately embroidered in red silk in one of the corners. It is 
not too much to say that a pang of joy w^ent through her 
heart at that refutation of the Captain's mean suspicions and 
that evidence to her own mind that the man in whom she had 
become so suddenly and unaccountably interested was playing 
no game of deceit and treachery. " H. T." were the initials, 
Horace Townsend was the name that he had given her, and 
there could be no doubt w^hatever of the truth of his state- 
ment. 

Captain Hector Coles did not seem by any means so well 
satisfied with the result of his researches. Something very 
like a scowl answered the look of indignation upon Margaret 
Hayley's face, as he said : 

" Humph I well, he has been keen enough, it seems, to 
mismark his handkerchief too !" 

"And you are ungenerous enough, Captain Hector Coles, 
first to do an improper action and then to find fault with your 
own discomfiture !" w^as the reply, as the lady once more took 
the proffered arm of the officer and left the alley, the com- 
batants still pursuing the concluding game of that most mem- 
orable match of left hand against scanty practice. Whither 



308 THE CO W A R D . 

one of them went, an hour or two later, ma}^ possibly be dis- 
covered at no distant period of this narration. 



There were stormy times, that night, in the chamber of con- 
nubial bliss occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame ; 
and poor Caudle, belabored as he was in the imaginative mind 
of Douglas Jerrold, never suffered as much in one hour as on 
that occasion did the ex-contractor, ex- Alderman and ex-pur- 
veyor of mettled steeds for the United States cavalry service. 
Shoddy was in an ill-humor, and Shoddy had a right to bo 
in an ill-humor. Every thing had gone wrong, specially and 
collectively, from the moment of their entering those fatal 
mountains. Mishap the first : Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame had 
fainted and been called "Bridget," before company. Mishap 
the second : Master Brooks Brooks Cunninghame had over- 
eaten himself and come near to leaving the whole family in 
mourning as loud as his own wails. Mishap the third : Master 
Brooks Brooks had badgered the bears, in plain sight of all, 
caused a serious accident, and been visited, both loudly and 
silently, with objurgations not pleasant to remember. Mishap 
the fourth : Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame had been herself badg- 
ered, worse than the bears, by an irreverent scamp who threw 
discredit at once upon her foreign travels and her geography. 
Mishap the fifth : Master Brooks Brooks had tumbled into 
the Pool, been nearly drowned, and come out a limp rag re- 
quiring some washing and several hours wringing before recov- 
ering its original consistency. Mishap the sixth : Mrs. Brooks 
Cunninghame, in the agitation of that serious accident, had 
called the dear boy by a name, that of " Patsey," which would 
be likely to stick to him, in taunting mouths, during his whole 
stay at the Profile. Mishap the seventh : Mr. Brooks Cun- 
ninghame had fallen in, that day, with the before-mentioned 
certain stage-drivers, who consented to drink brandy, wine 
and punch at his expense, enticing him thereafter into low 
stories of the days when he drove a horse and cart about 
town, and leaving him eventually in a state of fuddle amusing 



TLIE COWAKD. 309 

to their hard heads and harder hearts but bv no means con- 
ducive to his standing in fashionable watering-place society. 
Mishap the eighth : Miss Marianna Brooks Cunninghame had 
passed two evenings jn the parlor and one day among the 
guests in their rides and walks, bedizened in successive fineries 
of the most enticing order ; and not one person had desired 
the honor of her acquaintance out of doors, asked her to 
dance in the parlor, or paid her any more attention than might 
have been bestowed upon a very ungraceful lay-figure carried 
around for the showing off of modes and millinery. 

All this in thirty hours ; and all this was certainly enough 
to disturb more equable pulses than those which .beat under 
the coarse red skin of Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame. 

And when, that night while the moon was high in heaven 
and nearly all the guests had left parlor and piazza to silence 
after sucji an eventful day — while poor Marianna in her cham- 
ber wept over the cruel neglect which had made mockery of 
all her rosy anticipations, and Master Brooks Brooks moaned 
out at her side his petulant complaints born of ill-breeding, 
fright and weakness, — when Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame 
opened upon her not-yet-sobered husband the battery of her 
tongue, and accused him of being the author of all. the mis- 
haps before named, those with which he had nothing to do 
quite as much as those in which he had been really instru- 
mental, — then and there, for the moment, the Nemesis of the 
outraged republic was duly asserting the power delegated to 
her by the gods, and ' Shoddy, in the person of one of its 
humblest representatives, was undergoing a slight foretaste 
of that eternal torture to be hereafter enforced. 

Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame, on that occasion, declared her 
intention of not remaining another day among "such low 
people," and she further intimated to Mr. Brooks Cunning- 
hame that if he did not learn to behave himself in a manner 
more becoming to his high position (or at least the high po- 
sition of his wife and children !) she would " take him home 



310 THE COWARD. 

at ouce and never bring him out agin into respectable society 
while her head was warrum." 

At the end of which exordium the berated husband not un- 
naturally remarked, in a brogue nearly as broad as it had 
ever been : 

"And fwhat the divil did ye come trapesin here for at all 
at all ? Ye'd be doin' well enough at home, if ye'd only sthay 
there, Bridget — I mane Julia. Ye'r no more fit to be kapin 
company wid dhe quality, nor meself ; and I'm as much out 
of place here as a pig 'ud be goin' to mass ! Sure Mary Ann 
'11 niver be gettin' a husband among these people wid dho 
turned-up noses, and poor little Pat '11 be dhrouned and kilt 
and murthered intirely ! You'd betther be gettin' out of this 
as soon as ye can, and I'd be savin' me hard-earned money !" 

" The money you have cheated for, ye mane, Pat Cunning- 
ham," said Mrs. Brooks, who when alone with the object of 
her devoted affection and in a temper the reverse of amiable, 
could unveil some of the household skeletons of language and 
history quite as readily as he. " Pretty things them was that 
ye sold for horses to the government ! and there's a good dale 
of the money ye made when ye was Alderman, that they'd 
send ye to the State Prison for if they knowed all about it !" 

"Thrue for ye, Bridget ! — and who but j^t oogly self put 
the worst o' thim things into me head, dinnin' at me o' nights 
when ye ought to been aslape ? — answer me that, will ye ? 
And now ye'r sthruttin' like a peacock wid dhe money I mado 
to plase ye, and divil the bit can ye kape a civil tongue be- 
tween yer labthern jaws. Take that and bo hanged" [-or 
some other word] "to ye, Bridget Cunningham !" 

'' Pat Cunningham, ye'r a coarse, miserable brute — a low 
Irishman, and money can't make any thing else out of ye I 
Away from this we go to-morrow morning, mind that, before 
ye'r drunk again with yer low stage-drivers and thim fellers." 

A snore was the only reply. Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame 
haa secured the last word, according to her usual habit ; but 



THE COWARD. 811 

she had only done so at the expense of not having her re- 
joinder heard by the ears for which it was intended. 

The lady kept her word, in the one important particuhxr. 
Those who shared in the early breakfast of the next morning, 
before the starting of the stages, had the pleasure of seeing 
the whole family at table all bedizened for the road — Mrs. 
Brooks Cunninghame red-faced, stately and snappish ; Miss 
Marianna subdued and unhappy, with red rings around her 
eyes, as if she had been crying all night ; Mr. Brooks Cun- 
ninghame with his coarse face yet coarser than usual and his 
eyes suggestive of a late fuddle, piling away beef-steaks, egg3 
and biscuits into the human mill, as if he had some doubts of 
ever reaching another place w^here they could be procured to 
the same advantage ; and Master Brooks Brooks, the freckles 
showing worse than ever on his pale and sickly-looking face, 
whining between every two mouthfuls, and vociferating : 
" Mommy, mommy, I've got a pain !" and, "Mommy, mommy, 
I tell you I want some more o' them are taters and gravy !" 

They were pleasant company at the meal, very ! — as they 
bad been at all previous times when beaming on the horizon 
of other travellers, and as people out of place ahvays prove 
to be to those who surround them I But the meal came to 
an end, the trunks that held the remaining finery of the two 
ladies were safely stowed, the stage-drivers bellowed : "All 
aboard I" and the three more precious members of the Brooks 
Cunninghame family were stow^ed within the coach without 
personally causing more than ten minutes of hindrance, while 
Mr. Brooks Cunninghame himself, with a bad cigar in mouth 
and a surreptitiously-obtained bottle of raw whiskey in the 
pocket of his duster, occupied a seat on the top and felt, for 
the time, almost as happy as he had once done when sur- 
mounting his loaded dirt-cart. 

So Shoddy, or that particular manifestation of it, at least, 
rolled away from the Profile House. Whither, is no matter 
of consequence, for the incidental connection of the Brooks 
Cunninghames with this veracious history is concluded with 



812 THE COWARD. 

the exit of that morning. But let no one suppose that the 
travelling world was thereafter rid of them, or of others to 
whom they only supply a type and index, during the re- 
mainder of the summer. For did not some of us meet them 
at Niagara later in the season, resident at the Clifton as the 
most aristocratic (because on monarchical ground) of all the 
houses, Mrs. Brooks Cunninghame a little more querulous 
and redder in the face than when at the Notch ; Mr. Brooks 
Cunninghame a little trembly, as if whiskey and idleness 
"were beginning to tell upon his system ; Miss Marianna still 
un-cavaliered and hopelessly unexpectant in the wreck of her 
silks, laces, and jewelry ; and Master Brooks Brooks pulling 
the curtains and drumming on the keys of the piano with his 
unwashed fingers, pending his greater opportunity to frighten 
ii pair of horses into plunging over the bank, or to relieve the 
future of a dreary prospect by himself falling off Table Rock ? 



There was anothoi* departure from the Profile House the 
same morning. Whether the event of the night before had 
done any thing to bring about that consummation, or whether 
previous arrangements and the pressure of time dictated 
such a movement — Halstead Rowan and the two friends in 
his company were among the passengers by one of the 
coaches that went through to the Crawford, bearing such as 
contemplated an immediate ascent of Mount Washington from 
that direction. It may be the pleasant duty of writer and 
j-eader to overtake them at the Crawford, at a very early 
period. . Nothing more can now be said of the situation in 
v/hich the Yanderlyn imbroglio and the Townsend friendship 
were left, than that the departing man saw nothing of the 
lav/yer after they parted on the evening previous, and that 
his early stage rolled away long before the luxurious Yan- 
derlyns were likely to have opened their eyes at the summons 
of the first gong rolling through the corridors to awaken tbem 
for the regular breakfast. 



THE COWXJII), 313 

It was nearly noon of that morning of the departures — a 
cloudless, glorious morning, the sun just warming the chill 
of the Notch to a pleasant May air, and not a flock of mist 
to dim the view of the peaks on the very extreme verge of 
the line of vision, when Horace Townseud strolled down the 
half mile of road northward from the Profile, to Echo Lake, 
intent upon entering on those mysteries which specially 
belong to that haunted little sheet of water — the mysteries 
of the boat, the horn, and the cannon. He was alone, as he 
had been from the first moment of his coming to the Notch, 
except as the newly-formed intimacy between Halstead 
Kowan and himself had temporarily drawn them together. 
He seemed to have formed no other new acquaintance, but 
that was to be, perhaps, formal and distant ; and there was 
no certainty that the incident would not add to rather than 
take away from any feeling of positive loneliness which had 
before oppressed him. 

As he turned down the by-road shooting sharply away to 
the right, with the Lake glimmering silver in the sunliu'ht 
through the trees, there was a great crash of sound, a deafening 
reverberation from the rocks of Eagle Ciiif, hanging immedi- 
ately over the Lake, a fainter following, and then another and 
another, dying away among the far-off hills in the infinite 
variety of the highland echo. There were already visitors at 
the Lake ; and the factotum who blended the triple characters 
of keeper, guide, and boatman, had been discharging the 
little old cannon on the wharf, as a crowning proof to some 
party w^th whom he was just finishing, of the capacity of his 
lake for dwarfing all the travelled ones' recollections of Kil- 
larney and the Echo Rocks of Superior. 

Such was indeed the fact, and as the lawyer emerged upon 
the Lake immediately at the wharf, he met the party who had 
"done" the Lake strolling away, while the boatman was re- 
arming himself with his long horn, and beginning to turn his 
attention to certain new-comers, a part of vrhoni had already 
taken their seats in the big paddle -wheeled boat of which the 



814 THE COWAKD. 

steam was to be supplied by cranks and band-labor, for a 
trip around the pond with the dignified name, and a new 
development of the capacities of echo. He had indeed 
dropped the stipendiary sum in currency into the hand of the 
factotum, and was about stepping into the boat to join the 
party already miscellaneous, before he discovered that any 
acquaintance was numbered among them. When he did so, 
for one instant he hesitated as if about to defer his trip, then 
muttered below his breath the few words : "No ! — I must 
take my chances — now as well as ever !" stepped in from the 
little wharf and took one of the few empty seats remaining 
near the stern of the boat. He sat looking backward, and 
he was consequently brought face to face with the three 
occupants of the stern seat, who were necessarily looking 
forward. Perhaps his fate ivas upon that stern seat, for its 
three occupants were Mrs. Burton Hayley, her daughter, and 
Captain Hector Coles. 

Margaret Hayley paled a little, then flushed the least in the 
world and finally smiled a proud but pleasant smile and re- 
turned a nod and a " good-morning," in response to Town- 
sen d's comprehensive bow and salutation, w^hich were intended 
to take in all three. Captain Hector Coles sat bolt upright, as if 
he had been riding his horse on parade, and moved no inch from 
his perpendicular as he returned the greeting in so formal a 
voice that it constituted no recognition whatever ; and Mrs. 
Burton Hayley, to whom the lawyer had not been introduced, 
had some excuse for the supercilious but puzzled stare with 
which she honored him. The young girl saw the glance, and 
remembered the position. 

" Oh, ma, I forgot," she said, introducing. " Mr. Town- 
send, of Cincinnati, whose acquaintance I made yesterday 
when he saved the poor little boy from drowning, at the 
Pool." 

Her eyes were fixed very closely upon the face of Town- 
send as she said these words, and so were those of Captain 
Hector Coles. If either saw, or thought that they saw, a 



THE COWARD. 315 

momentary red flash pass over the dark countenance, coming 
as quickly and fading as rapidly as one of the flashes of the 
Northern Lights, — did they see any corroboration of the 
suspicious of the evening before, or was that flush merely the 
natural expression of a sensitive man whose good deeds were 
mentioned in his presence ? 

Mrs. Burton Hayley nodded, as she could not avoid doing 
under such circumstances, but there was very little cordiality 
in the nod ; and there was something quite as lofty and un- 
congenial in the manner of the words with which she accom- 
panied it : 

"I remember hearing my daughter speak of Mr. Town- 
scnd's having been made the means, under Providence, of 
preventing an accident." 

The ostentatious Bible yet lay upon its carved stand, oh, 
Mrs. Burton Hayley, did it not ! 

No farther conversation followed at that moment, though 
there may have been one, and mayhap two, in that mixed 
boat-load of fifteen or twenty, who would have been glad to 
pursue it under more favorable auspices. Certain it is that 
the lawyer kept his gaze upon the proudly sweet face of 
Margaret Hayley, quite as steadily as propriety would by 
any means allow, and that her face answered back something 
more of interest, under the shade of her wide leghorn jockey, 
than either of her immediate companions might have been 
pleased to see. She was interested in her new acquaintance, 
beyond a question : was she something more ? Answer tho 
question — oh, heart of woman ! — could it be possible that tho 
by-gone love, once so truly a part of her very being, had al- 
ready so faded, in one short month, that a feeling warmer 
than friendship could centre around a mere stranger of two 
days' beholding ? Was that "ideal," once believed to have 
been found, then lost again, presenting itself in another and 
still more enticing shape, to make constancy a myth and 
womanly truth a byword ? Small data, as yet, from which to 



S16 THE COWAKD. 

judge ; but stranger things than this have chanced in the roll 
ing years, and the faith of humanity still survived them ! 

Out on the Lake by this time the burlesque upon a steam- 
boat had floated, and the sheet of water lay under as well as 
around the passengers — perhaps a quarter of a mile in width 
and a mile in length, shut in on the side of approach by the 
woods, and beyond on all sides by the eternal hills, Never was 
silver jewel dotting the green bosom of nature more beautiful 
— never one more sweetly nestled away near the very heart 
of its mountain nurse. The proverbial winds of the Notch 
for once were still, and only a gentle ripple stirred the glassy 
surface here and there as a breath touched it like the skimming 
wing of a wild bird. The meridian sun lay lovingly on the 
side and crest of the mountain rising eastward from the edge 
of the water, touching its bald, scarred brow with ruddy gold ; 
and if the first on the cliffs nodded at times, they nodded 
sleepily with the very expression of repose. Spirit of calm, 
delicious quiet ! — was there ever a spot more truly sacred to 
thee, than Echo Lake at such moments, when a few gentle, 
loving hearts, close bound to each other and shut in from the 
world, are beating with slow pulses as the life and centre of 
the great mystery of nature ? Other boat-loads than that of 
this July noon, have grown quiet beneath such a feeling, as 
the boatman ceased his paddling, the boat drifted lazily on, 
lips grew silent, eyes closed, and human thought floated away 
on a very sea of dreams. 

They had swept over, in rapt silence for the last few mo- 
ments, until they lay beneath the very brow of the east- 
ern mountain. Then that silence was broken by the boat- 
man rising from his seat and blowing a long, steady blast on 
his six-foot tin horn, in size and shape like those us^d on the 
Western canals, but sadly dinted by careless use and fre- 
quent falling. The company were reminded, then, that they 
were floating on Echo Lake and no stream of the land of 
faerie. The long, low note died on the ear, and an appre- 
ciable instant of silence followed. Then it came back from 



THE COWAKD. 317 

the brow of the moutitain above, a liltle louder than before, 
and yet a little mellowed by distance. Another instant, and 
tlic same sound reverberated from the opposite hill, the back 
of Eagle Cliff. Were there still more echoes to be added to 
the t\>'o that had already made the place notable ? Yes, a 
third came back from the range that sloped away from the 
bead of the Lake, northward — a little fainter, and broken 
now ; and then the more distant bills caught the sound, as if 
each had a right, which it jealously claimed, to some portion 
of that greeting from the human breath ; and far as the eye 
could trace the blue peaks rising behind each other through 
the gaps beyond, the ear could catch a corresponding rever- 
beration, fainter — fainter — fainter, — till it died away in a 
drowsy murmur and silence followed. Then the horn passed 
from hand to hand and from mouth to mouth, some of the 
gallants perhaps forming kisses of the touch of red lips which 
had preceded theirs ; and some blew round, full strains that 
awakened admiration, and some made but a melancholy 
whistle which excited merry laughter. Among the many ex- 
periments tried upon that horn, there must have been some 
horrid discords startling the Dryads in the wooded shades up 
the mountain, where the gazers sometimes seemed to see the 
echo leaping from cliff to cliff and from bough to bough. But 
they soon came willingly back to the • practised notes of the 
boatman ; and some of the party shut their eyes and dreamed, 
as his quick, sharp peals rang merrily up among the hills, — ■ 
of noble lord and gentle lady, hunting in the days of old, and 
of the bugle blasts of outlaws sounding through gloomy Ar- 
dennes or merry Sherwood. Anon he would end his strain 
with a long, low falling note, and they heard some old cathe- 
dral hymn wailing through solemn arches and bending the 
spirit to reverence and^ prayer. But through all that suc- 
cession of sounds the hard, dry, practical, exigeant Present 
was rolled away and the romantic, easy Past stood in its 
stead ; so easily does the mind, like the body, cast off' ita 



318 THE COWARD. 

burthen, whenever permitted, and lie down, if only for a mo- 
ment, upon the lap of indolence ! 

Scarcely a word had been spoken, in the boat, for some 
minutes, under the influence of that spell of the hour. But 
the normal condition of humanity, when awake, is tO keep 
the tongue in motion ; and not even the spell of Echo Lake 
could keep that busy member still beyond the customary 
period. Comparisons of other echoes, in our own and ^ther 
lands, were made, and as the boatman rowed on to complete 
the circuit of the Lake, the conversation became nearly 
general. 

"Echo Lake looks very smiling and quiet to-day," said one 
of the company — the same old habitue of the mountains who 
had commenced the conversation the day before with Hal- 
stead Rowan, at the Pool. " But I have seen it look very 
differently, sometimes when a gale came roaring and singing 
up through the Notch, and the saucy little thing got a black 
frown upon its face, reflected from the leaden sky and the 
wind-tossed trees up yonder. Echo is blown away, at such 
times, as any one would be who dared the perils of this sea 
of limited dimensions ; and you would be surprised to know 
how hard the wind can blow just here, and what little, tum- 
bling, dangerous waves of rage the dwarf can kick up, trying 
to make an ocean of itself." 

" The most singular view that /ever had of it," said another, 
"I caught half way up the Cannon Mountain one afternoon. It 
looked like a wash-bowl, and I had a fancy that I could toss 
a piece of soap into it from where I stood ! But I knew that 
it must be Echo Lake, for somebody was blowing a horn ; and I 
believe there has never been an hour of daylight, since crea- 
tion, when a horn has not been blowing somewhere in the 
neighborhood." 

" There is one more point of view in which to see it," said 
Horace Townsend, who had not before joined at any length 
in the conversation. " I mean by moonlight, for any one 
who is part night-hawk." 



THE COWARD. 819 

"All, have vou seen it so ?" asked the last speaker, witli 
interest. 

"Yes — last night," answered the lawyer. 

"As often as I have been here," said the first old habitue, 
" I have never come down to see it by moonlight. What is 
it like ?" 

" Like something that I cannot very well describe," was 
the answer. "You had better all come down and see it for 
yourselves, before you leave the ^NTotch." 

" Still, you can give us some idea," pursued the old gen- 
tleman. 

Horace Townsend hesitated and was silent for a moment, 
when Margaret Hayley said, her eyes just then fixed full upon 
his : " I think you can, Mr. Townsend, if I am not mistaken 
in the voice that I heard speaking for the Old Man of the 
Mountain, by the same moonlight, not many evenings ago." 

The dusky cheek of the lawyer was full of red blood in an 
instant. He had been overheard, then, in his half-mad rhap- 
sody to Rowan and himself. And she had heard him, of all 
women ! — she had spoken with such frankness, not to say bold- 
ness, and that frankness appreciation at least, if not admira- 
tion 1 He might have uttered something more about "tak- 
ing his chances" then, and had full warrant for the self-gratu- 
lation I 

" I do not suppose that I can tell you either what I saw or 
felt," said Townsend, when that momentary flush had died 
away a little from his face. " I will try, however. I had 
been rolling ten-pins till past eleven, and it must have been 
midnight when I strolled down towards the Lake. I was in 
hopes that I should find no one here, for I wished to see it 
alone as well as by moonlight ; and I had my wish. I saw 
no one and heard no one, on my way to the Lake or while 
here ; and I do not suppose that any foot but my own pressed 
the damp green velvet that bordered the edge, or that any 
eye except my own and the All-seeiDg one that looks down 
over all the world at all midnights, saw the placid sheet lying 



320 THE COWAliD. 

iu its solemn repose, with the shadows of the great cliff yonder 
reflected on its bosom, and here and there a little ripple as a 
puff of wind sighed through the branches, kissed the silver 
surface and passed over." 

The eyes of the speaker were full of humid light as he spoke, 
and at least one of the company marked the influence which 
seemed to be upon him — a mood of high imagination, some- 
times seen in the ardent lovers of nature when revelling in 
their chosen study, and though less dangerous not less de- 
cided than the madness which habitually fell upon Saul. 
There was something fascinating in it, to all who saw and 
heard, even to those who held an intuitive dislike to the seer: 
what must the fascination have been to Margaret Ilayley, 
who remembered one so unlike in personal appearance and 
yet so like in voice and apparently in habits of mind, loving 
nature so intently and describing it with the same fervor, 
while his love for her made a sacred undertone to all and 
completed the charm of look and word i 

The lawyer needed no further urging, but went on : 
**The little dock there, with the boats moored beside it, 
and the hut where our friend here keeps his horn and cannon, 
— all lay in a melancholy quiet which struck me like death — 
as if those w^ho frequented them had gone away at some 
nightfall years ago, like the workmen who left their trowels 
in the mortar of unfinished Pompeii on the morning of its 
destruction, — never to return again and yet ever to be waited 
for, while the earth kept its course in the heavens. I was 
alone, and I suppose that imagination ran riot "with me and 
made me partially a maniac. The hush was so awful that I 
dared not break it, even by a loud breath. I saw the Indians 
there, under yon sweeping trees to the left, whose branches 
bend down and almost kiss the water — saw an Indian canoe 
lying there, faces within it smeared with war-paint and tho 
pointed arrow ready to twang from the bow-string. I ex- 
pected to hear the war- whoop every instant — expected it, 
l^erhaps not in my human mind but in that other and more 



THE COWARD. 821 

powerful miiul for which we are none of us quite responsible. 
Then I saw — yes, I was sure that I saw the dusky shadow of 
a robber flittin<>: along from pine to pine, far up on the side 
of the cliff there, silent and dangerous as death, and ready to 
drop down on the first living thing that passed beneath him. 
Then I saw fiery eyes through the branches, and thought that 
the panther and the catamount, that lurked in these tangled 
woods two hundred years ago, divided possession once more 
with the Indians and were prowling about for some late ban- 
quet. I do not think that it was fear that I felt, for I would 
not have gone away if I could, any more than I could have 
gone away if I would ; but it appeared to be the very silent 
haunt of nature in her hour of rest, wherewith nothing but 
the wild and the savage had any business; and it seemed im- 
possible to throw aside the idea that even the tread of a civil- 
ized foot must be a sacrilege that only life could atone. Then 
there was a sudden plunge from the bushes into the water, a 
few yards up the bank, and a ripple following some large dark 
object swimming away towards the other shore. This was 
more real, and the feeling of awe began to pass away, for I 
knew that the swimmer must be a water-rat or otter that had 
been paying a midnight visit like myself and was now going 
homeward by the cool and refreshing marine route. That 
was the first noise I had heard, but others followed, for an 
ow^l began to hoot over yonder in the bushes and a young 
eagle — I suppose it must have been a young eagle — indulged 
in a scream from the top of the Cliff, where I believe he has a 
habit of nesting. Then the supernatural and the imaginative 
rolled away after they had held me an hour or two, and I was 
simply alone at two o'clock or a little later, beside Echo Lake, 
only half a mile from the bed that had been all that time 
waiting for me. I took the warning of the night-owl and the 
eagle, who no doubt intended to order me off as an intruder, 
and strolled back to the house. That is all, and perhaps quite 
enough of such rambling nonsense as it is !" 

" Kamlj-ling nonsense ?" Whatever the other members of 
20 



6T2, T II K C O W A R I). 

the company may have thought, evidently Margaret ITayley 
did not so regard it as she leaned anxiously forward/ the 
presence of others apparent!}' forgotten, her eyes fascinated 
in a sort of strange wonder by something in the face of the 
.speaker, while her mind seemed not less singularly under the 
control of the utterance itself. 

Five minutes afterwards the parody on a steamboat touched 
the little wharf again and the company disembarked. Five 
minutes after that secondary period they separated from the 
close communion into which they had been transiently thrown 
during the preceding half-hour, many of them never to meet 
again in the same familiarity of intercourse, and perhaps some 
of them, though as yet inmates of the same abode, never to 
see each other'^ faces again in life ! Such are the meetings 
and the partings of summer travel and watering-place exist- 
ence, to which the nameless rhymer no less truly than touch^ 
iugly referred when he spoke of those friendships quickly 
made and as quickly broken : 

" In hostels free to all commauds 

Save peuury's and pity's ; — 

'* In common rooms, where all have right 
To tread with little heed or warning, 
And where the guests of overnight 
Are gone at early morning ; — 

'* By tables where we sit at meat — 
Sit, with our food almost un tasted 
Because we find some vacant seat 
From which a friend has hasted ; — 

" In parlors where at eve we sit, 

Among the music and the dancing, 
And miss some lip of genial wit, 
Some bright eye kindly glancing. 

" the haunted chambers left, 



That almost choke us as we ponder, 
And leave us quite as much bereft 
As dearer ties and fonder." 



THE COWARD. 323 



CHAPTER XYI. 

Cloud and Storm at the Profile — Sights and Sensa- 
tions OF A Rainy-day Ride to the Crawfoud — 
Horace Townsend and Halstead Rowan once more 
together — Unexpected Arrivals — A Cavalcade of 
]\Iiserables — An Ascent of Mount Washington, with 
Equestrianism and War-whoops Extraordinary. 

Calms at sea are not more proverbially treacherous than 
pleasant mornings in the mountains ; and long before that 
day closed which had opened so auspiciously, the heavy 
clouds came driving up through the Notch with the south-east 
wind. By nightfall a storm was inaugurated. Thencefor- 
ward, for two days, excursions to the Cannon, to Bald Moun- 
tain, to Mount Lafayette, or to any other of the points of 
scenery so plentiful in the Franconia Notch, and in which ex- 
cursions all the visitors, however slightly acquainted, are 
more or less closely thrown into speaking intercourse with 
each other, — were things to be thought of but not attempted. 
The stages came in with smoking horses and moisture drip- 
ping alike from the hat of the driver and the boot of the 
coach ; but few passengers arrived or departed. The bears 
walked sullenly their little round, or retired periodically to 
winter quarters in their narrow kennels. The valleys were 
filled with driving mist, varied by heavy down-pouring rain, 
and the mountains hid themselves sullenly from view, so that 
sometimes not even the brow of Eagle Cliff, hanging imme- 
diately over the house, could be distinguished through the 
dense clouds that swept down to the very roofs. Fires 
became prevalent, and those so fortunate as to possess rooms 
where the birchen wood could be set ablaze, remained closely 
sequestered there, dozing, or playing cards or backgammon, 
or once more turning over the leaves of books from which all 
the novelty had long before been extracted. Desultory groups 



824 THE COWARD. 

met at meals, even the eaters comiug down sluggishly. 
Some of the men patronized the billiard-room or the bowling- 
alley, but they rarely found lady partners or spectators, as in 
sunneir days. Even the hops in the parlor at evening were 
thinly attended, the weather seeming to have affected alike 
the nerves and muscles provocative of dancing, and the 
strings of the harp, violin and piano. Those who happened 
to possess copies of " Bleak House," and who remembered 
the marvellous phenomena of rainy w^eather existing at a 
certain time in and about the domain of Sir Leicester Ded- 
lock, read the description over again and thought that nothing 
could be more beautifully applicable to the experience of storm- 
stayed sight-seers at a caravanserai among the mountains. 

During those two days of storm and sluggishness, Horace 
Townsend, merely an excursion acquaintance of the Hayleys 
and Captain Hector Coles, and not such an intimate as would 
be likely to be invited to backgammon or chat in one of their 
private rooms, — never once met Margaret Hayley more 
nearly than within bowing distance when passing in or out 
of the dining-room or the parlor. One or both may have 
desired to continue the acquaintance without quite so much 
of distant familiarity ; but if so, one or both knew the antag- 
onistic influences surrounding them and did not think proper 
to raise an arm for buffeting the waves of separation. 

There were not less than a dozen persons remaining at the 
Profile, who had the ascent of Mount Washington yet to make 
at an early day, and who intended to make it in the good old 
traditional way of horseback from the Crawford instead of 
acknowledging modern utility and bowing to the destruction 
of all romance b}' going up in carriages from the Glen. 
Some of these, beginning to be pressed for time, saw the 
steady rain and mist with impatience and found very little 
comfort in the assurances of the hotel-keepers, guides and 
stage-drivers, that the clouds were not likely to break away 
under a week, at least. 

Monday brought this feeling to a culmination, and that 



T HE CO W A K o . 825 

morning, spite of all predictions, the impatient dozen ordered 
a stage and determined to drive over to the Crawford ; be- 
speaidng clear weather on the morrow, or on the next day at 
fiirthcst, for their especial accommodation. Horace Towmsend, 
whether wearied by circumstances which placed him " so nenr 
and yet so far" in his acquaintance with Margaret Ilayley, or 
really touched with the prevailing madness for forcing Mount 
Washington to smile when that great mountain wished to be 
sullen, — Horace Townsend joined the malcontents and formed 
one of the closely-packed stage-load that on Monday morning 
rolled off from the Profile on their way to the Crawford. 

The voyagers were pursued by no small number of jokes 
and jeers from the piazza, as they drove away, on the folly of 
plunging out into a storm to accomplish an impossibility. But 
if any one of the number felt for a moment sore in mind and 
faint-hearted, they were soon consoled. Most of them (mixed 
male and female, though the former predominating) were true 
Nature-lovers who had recognized that however Fame and 
Fortune sometimes play cruel tricks upon their most ardent 
votaries, the kind Mother seldom failed to unveil her bosom 
at the coming of one of her true children. They had faith in 
the future, and that faith was at once repaid in the glory of 
the present. 

For those who have only made the twenty-five miles of 
stage-ride between the two places, in fair weather, can have 
no idea of the peculiar charms of that day of capricious rain 
and floating mist. Closely shut in the lumbering coach, and 
well enveloped in shawls and dread-noughts and blankets, but 
with the windows open to allow looking back on the Franconia 
range they were leaving, — they enjoyed at intervals, during 
all the earlier portions of the ride, such splendid glimi)ses 
of cloud-land as never fall to the lot of mere fair-wealluT 
travellers. 

At times the shroud of mist w^hich had enveloped them 
would roll away, as they ascended the high land rising from 
Franconia towards Bethlehem ; and then they w^ould have the 



326 T u E c u w A i; d . 

peaks of the Frauconia range flecked and dotted with swales 
and waves and crests of transparent white that seemed alter- 
nately to be thousands of colossal sheep lying in the mountain 
pastures, — and again great masses of the purest and softest 
eider-down which had floated there and rested, from millions 
of birds filling the whole air above. Mount Lafayette at one 
moment, as some of the voyagers of that lucky morning will 
well remember, seemed to be capped and crowned with a 
wreath of untrodden snow, miles in extent and hundreds of 
feet in depth — such as no mountain ever wore upon its brow 
as a coronet, from the first morning of creation. 

Exclamations of pleasure filled the coach, and jest and 
appreciative remark blended in pleasant proximity. "I shall 
always remember the air of this morning," said one, " as an 
atmosphere of bridal veils," and more than he treasured up 
the comparison as one worth remembering. " See here, Cora !'* 
said another, to the only child in the coach, who nestled half 
asleep on the shoulder of her mother, pointing her attention 
meanwhile to a little pyramidal hill separate from the moun- 
tain range and at that point relieved against it: " See here, 
Cora ! There is a little baby mountain !" " So there is !" 
answered Cora, with a world of drollery in her young eyes, 
" I wonder how long before it will grow to be as big as the 
rest of them !" Whereupon Cora was voted to have the best of 
the argument, and manhood once more worshipped childhood. 

Away past Bethlehem and along the Ammonoosuc, an ex- 
aggeration, in its rocks, upon all the other mountain streams, 
with its few inches of water finding way among a perfect bed 
of boulders, and making the mere word '' navigation" suggest 
so droll an image in that connection as to draw a loud laugh 
from the whole coach-load. Tlien past a couple of fishermen, 
heedless of the rain, rod in h.m'i and creel at side, standing 
on the boulders in the middle of the river and practising the 
mysteries of the Waltoniau art, report alleged with more 
" flies" assisting than those which they carried in their pocket- 
books ! Then on, with the mist again closed down heavily, 



THE COWARD. 827 

past the White Mountain House, that once, before the days 
of glory of the Glt'n, sui)plied the only so-called "carnage- 
road" to the top of Washington. 

A mile or two more, and there was a space clear from trees 
on the left. As the coach swept up to it the mists seemed to 
shrink low for a moment. A heavy, dark line loomed on the 
sky, with almost the true sweep of a wide Gothic arch, a little 
sharpened at the top. " How graceful !" was th(^ exclama- 
tion of one. "How high I — look ! — why that is higher than 
any of the others that we have seen !" exclaimed a second. 
"Mount Washington," calmly said a habitue who caugiit a 
glimpse through the curtain from the back corner of the coach ; 
and every voice joined in the ciy. 

The habitue was right — cloud and mist had rolled away for 
an instant, just at the opp(jrtune moment, and they had caught 
that magnificent first near view of the monarch, throned amid 
his clouds, glorious in the grace of form and the awe of majesty 
— seeming to bridge the very space between earth and heaven 1 
Some of those favored gazers will dream of that first glance, 
years hence, when they have been straining the mental vision 
upward, in waking hours, to that unattainable and dim which 
rises above the mists of common life. Some of them will 
throne the great mountain in their hearts, and stretch out 
pleading arms to it in remembrance, in the dark days of shame 
and sorrow, — as if the treading of their feet upon its rocky 
pinnacle would be indeed an escape from the world — as if 
they might become sharers, indeed, in the majesty of its great 
solitude. Some of the travellers felt the solemnity of the 
hour and the scene, that day ; and there was not even a sneer 
or a word of misappreciation for the adventurous genius v/ho 
quoted, heedleso of all that made it inappropriate : 



Mount Blanc ir^ the monarcli of mountains 

They crowned him long ago, 
On a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds. 

With a diadem of snow I" 



828 THE COWARD. 

There was a brief ride remainincr, then, till they rolled in 
over a level road, through thick overhanging woods, to the 
Crawford House in the White Mountain Notch. The mi.<t 
had closed almost hopelessly down for the time, and they 
could only see occasional glimmers through it of the rough 
sides of old Mount Webster, dark-browed and massive as its 
namesake. It was only in the brighter air of morning that 
they were to take in the whole location and ?ee in front, to 
the right. Mount Willard, wooded on the side exposed to 
view, but bald and rugged farther down the Xotch, like the 
Cannon at Franconia ; with Mount Jackson to the left in 
front, be3'ond it the still higher peaks of Mount Webster, and 
rising at the left iii the immediate foreground the long wooded 
slopes of Mount Clinton, over which the foot of every pilgrim 
to Mount Washington from the Crawford must make its first 
ascent. 

The dull weather had driven almost all the visitors w"'iiin 
doors, at the Crawford as at the Profile ; but as the splashed 
coach rolled up there was at least one recognition — that of 
Halstead Ro'wan by Horace Townsend, the former, without 
any ap])arent reference to the humidity of the atmosphere, 
lying at lazy length on three chairs on the piazza and occu- 
pied with a cigar and a cheap novel. He had "shed" (that 
word seems to express the fact better than any other) his 
over-sized glove from his wounded hand, and seemed entirely 
to have recovered the use of that important member. 

New acquaintances become old and ripen into friendships, 
very soon when all other surroundings are totally strange ; 
and the two men, each so odd in his way, greeted each other 
as if they had been friends for a decade instead of intimates 
of less than a week. There may have been some bond in 
common, in the guess which each could make of the thoughts 
and entanglements of the other, calculated to force that friend- 
ship forward, even if it would have progressed more slowly 
under other circumstances. 



T H K CO W A li D. 329 

The first inquiry of Townsend, as thoy shook each other 
warmly by the hand, was: 

" J>(*en up Mount Washing-ton yet V 

" Not this time /" answ^ered the other, significantly. " The 
fog has been nearly thick enough to swim in, ever since I 
liave been here, and I do not know, if I had been as good a 
swimmer as you, Townsend, whether I should not have tried 
going up by water, as our friend JSIrs. Brooks Cunninghnme 
went up the Alps ; but by land the thing has been impossible." 

" Many waiting to go up ? — or do they nearly all go around 
to the Glen, this season ?" was the next inquiry. 

"No, there are a good many sensible people left," was the 
reply, in the same tone of vivacious rattle. " Think of going 
up Mount Washington in a carriage ! It is worse than 
making a mill-race out of Niagara, or approaching Jerusalem, 
as they will do one of these days, I suppose, amid the rumble 
and whistle of a railroad-train." 

"Don't undervalue your own employment!" said Town- 
send. 

" Oh, I do not," was the reply. " Railroad trains, as well 
as mills, are very good things in their places ; but I suppose 
that a prejudice will always exist in favor of the fiery chariot 
instead of the balloon, as a means of making ascents into the 
celestial regions." 

Horace Townsend laughed. " But you have not yet told 
me how many are waiting, or when you are really going up." 

" Oh, there must be nearly or quite tw^enty of them, moping 
^around the house, running out to look at the sky every ten 
minutes, and asking the clerk and the guides questions that 
they are about as fit to answer as a prairie-chicken to solv« 
a problem in geometry ! As to when we are going up — do 
you know ?" 

"/am going up to-morrow, whether any one else goes up 
or not," said the lawyer. "And by the way, I have bespoken 
a clear day for that especial occasion." 

" Have you ? Thank you ! Then I suppose we can all 



I 

330 r HE coward. 

g-o up !" replied the Illinoisan, as if the information had been 
the most serious in the world. " By the way — how are they 
all, over yonder !" 

There was something very like a blush on the face of the 
questioner, and there was something varying very little from 
that phenomenon on the brown cheek of the other as he an- 
swered : 

"I have not seen much of either," (what did he mean by 
" either," a word peculiarly applying, in common parlance, 
to two?) " but I believe that they are well." 

" Still at the Profile ?" 

" Yes, and likely to remain there, for any thing that I know 
to the contrary." 

"Any news of any kind ? Any more accidents or startling 
events ?" 

" Xone — 3'es, there is one startling event. The Brooks 
Cunninghames came away the same day that you left. Have 
you got the old woman here ?" 

"Here? heaven forefend ! Xo !" was the response. Then 
he added : " Why, by Jupiter, Townsend, you mu.st be a 
wizard or in some kind of collusion with Meriam ! See ! — 
I'll be hanged if there is not the top of a mountain 1 It is 
clearing away ! Hurrah for Mount Washington !" 

He darted in at once from the piazza to the office, and 
Townsend. who had not yet even registered his name as an 
arrival, followed him. Most of the other passengers from 
the Profile were by that time registered and scattered away 
to their rooms for sartorial renovation. ^ 

A separate book was kept at the office, as usual at such 
places, over the head of each page of which was printed : 
"Horses for Mount Washington," and in which, every day, 
those who wished to secure horses and guides for the suc- 
ceeding, or the first favorable day, registered their names, 
with the number of animals required and how many of them 
were to be ridden by ladies. A good many queer auto- 
graphs might be observed in that book and some of its pre- 



THE COWARD. 331 

deccp!5ors, for there was almost always some mischievous 
clerk behind the counter, amusing himself by telling immense 
stories to some of the other initiated, just as the un-initiated 
were coming up to register their names, — about the perils of 
the ride and how near he or some other person had come to 
falling over precipices of indefinite thousands of feet. This 
description of jocular practice very often shook the nerves of 
young travellers at the moment of booking, even when the 
frightened person was too far committed or too shame-faced 
to abandon his project ; and there is no doubt that the origi- 
nal collection of chirography thus secured would prove only 
less interesting, on exhibition, than the original draft of the 
Declaration of Independence, or the Emancipation Proc- 
lamation ! 

Several names had already been booked at hap-hazard on 
the day in question ; and others of the storm -stayed, aware 
of the prospect of a " clearing-up," were by that time flock- 
ing around the book to secure their places. To the collection 
already made were very soon added the signatures of Town- 
send and Rowan, who intended, as neither would have a lady 
in charge, to make a great part if not all the trip together, 
while the two friends of Rowan, who were also to be of the 
ascending party, would " pair off" in the same manner. 

This done, and supper-time approaching, Rowan, who had 
been lounging about in a sort of wet- weather box-coat undress 
which would have driven an ultra-fashionable to desperation, 
ran off to his room to make himself somewhat more presenta- 
ble ble ; while Horace Townsend, after patronizing the barl)er- 
shop for five minutes and providing himself with that inevita- 
ble cigar, stepped out once more upon the piazza to glance at 
the weather and satisfy himself how kind Mother ]S;iture 
really intended to be on the morrow. He had but just 
emerged from the door when a close light carriage with two 
pairs of foaming horses — horses and carriage well covered 
with mud, — whirled around the corner of the Crawford and 
drew up at the door. The driver sprung from his seat and 



3(^2 1' HE COWARD. 

the carriage door was opened. Out of it stepped first Frank 
A'anderlyn, then ^Mrs. A^anderlyn and her daughter, who, as 
it afterwards appeared, had left the Profile after dinner and 
driven through post in that manner, under the impression 
that the next morning might after all be a fine one, and anx- 
ious (two of the three, at least) to join any party which would 
be likely to make the ascent. 

" Whew !" said the lawyer to himself, between two puffs 
of his cigar, as he recognized the new-comers without their 
seeming to be aware of his presence. " Here is more of the 
Rowan romance and there may be more ten-pins necessary. 
I wonder whether that haughty woman and her son have any 
idea of the presence here of their friend fro^i Chicago, and 
whether they have driven at that slapping pace through the 
mud, especially to be in his way ! I wonder, too, whether 
Rowan's room is on the front, so that he has seen their ar- 
rival. I have half a notion to go up and apprize him of it,; 
and then I have a whole notion to let him find it out for him- 
self, and finish my cigar before supper comes in to spoil it." 

Whatever might have been the amount of knowledge of 
the movements of Rowan possessed by the Vanderlyns, and 
-whether in making a new entry on the books the old names 
were or were not always looked over. — certain it is that half 
an hour afterwards the lawyer found two more names booked 
for the ascent — those of " Mr. Francis Yanderlyn'' and " Miss 
Clara Yanderlyn," the mother evidently not intending to ex- 
pose herself to a fatigue which had lost its novelty, but to 
await their going and return at the Crawford. 

It was very evident, to Townsend, eventually, that Rowan 
did not know any thing of the new arrival until he came 
down to supper. The Vanderlyns had taken their places at 
the table, very nearly opposite the lawyer, and returned with 
a nod of pleasant recognition the bow which he felt com- 
pelled to give them under the circumstances. Halstead 
Rowan, as he came in, took a seat on the same side of the 
table with tie new-comers, and it was only as he gave the 



THE COWARD. 838 

customary glance down after he had seated himself, that he 
seemed to recognize the sudden addition to the social circle. 
AVhen he did recognize it, the, lawyer (that man seems to be 
eternally watching the other, does he not ?) caught one in- 
stant's blank surprise on his face, and he even put up his 
hand to rub his eyes, as if he fancied himself dreaming ; but 
the surprise seemed to fade in a moment, and he pursued his 
supper with that fine appetite which is usually vouchsafed to 
such physical men. He left the table before the Vanderlyns 
had finished, and apparently without their having observed 
him. Townsend rose immediately and followed him, with 
a smile upon his face of which he was himself unconscious. 
He saw the Illinoisan go into the office and do precisely what 
he [the lawyer] would have laid a heavy stake that he would 
do — step to the counter and look over the list of " Horses for 
Mount Washington." Then a queer expression, nearer to 
malicious pleasure than any thing the other had before seen 
upon his face, flitted over it as he recognized the names. It 
might have been merely satisfaction — it might have been de- 
fiance blended with it in equal proportions ; but at least it 
seemed to be capable of translation into words like these, 
which the very lips moved as if they would utter : 

** So, Baltimore people, you are running yourselves into 
my way again, after I had gone off and left you alone, like a 
good fellow ! You had better be poorer and less proud, or I 
richer ; or you had better keep the distance which I put 
between us !" 

A few moments after he approached Townsend with a 
laugh of deprecation and invited him to another game of ten- 
pins, which seemed to be quite as necessary to him when in 
a good humor as when in a rage. The invitation was ac- 
cepted, and the important contest began once more. It 
would have been a very unequal one, for Rowan had fully 
recovered the use of his right hand, but that the alleys them- 
selves had something to say in the matter. Worse apologies 
for alleys than those of the Crawford no man ever saw ; and 



33i THE COWARD. 

such a thing q<^ a " ten-strike" had never been recorded on 
the bhick-boards, as made on those lonj^ lines of uneven and 
floor-laid planks. Both the combatants had quite enough to 
do in getting down a " frame" with three balls ; and for some 
time not a word outride of the game escaped either. 

Suddenly, and when he had rolled two of the three balls 
at the defiant pins, Rowan stopped short with one of the 
lignum-vitae globes, of about the size of a human head, in 
his hand — twirling it the while as if it had been a paper 
balloon, — and said, in a short, curt tone : 

'* They have come !" 

"Yes," answered Townsend, not pretending for a moment 
to be doubtful about the meaning of the personal pronoun. 
" Yes, I saw them at supper." 

" Going up with us to-morrow, I believe !*' added the 111- 
inoisan. 

''Ah, indeed, are they ?" was the Jesuitical inquiry of the 
lawyer. 

" Yes, and they wn'll have good company, won't they !" 
was the response. 

Then he bowled away at the ten-pins, more energetically 
than ever, and with something in his manner and the nervous 
jerk of his arm, that once more recalled Townsend's idea of 
his feeling, while in the act, like shooting some one down a 
mountain precipice like a pebble-stone, or sweeping away a 
fate like a cobweb with one of those polished globes of iron 
wood. 

Only a couple of games, and then they went in to bed with 
a mutual reminder that the motto in the morning would be 
"to horse and away !" and that above all things they must be 
w^atchful against that phase of indolence vulgarly known as 
"oversleeping." The house was nearly silent, all the 
prospective riders having retired for the night, and soon 
slumber fell upon that hive of human bees wandering in 
search of the honey of unlaboring pleasure, gathered under 
the roof of Gibb and Hartshorne at the Crawford. 



THE C O W A K D. 835 

Fell, but not too deeply, for that wliicb. is to be brief has a 
ri!2:bt to be intense ; and the hours of repose were relentlessly 
numbered. Neither Townsend nor -Rowan need have been 
anxious about wakinj? in the morning ; for such a blast and 
roar of horrible sound as swept through the corridor at about 
seven, A. M., from the big Chinese gong in the hands of an 
enthusiastic negro who probably felt that he had no other op- 
portunity of making his requisite " noise in the world," would 
have been sufficient to awaken any thing short of the dead I 
For once, every one obeyed the summons while anathema- 
tizing the mode, and the breakfast-table was soon surrounded. 

Here, those who labored under some kind of indefinite im- 
pression that the summit of Mount Washington was some- 
where beyond the Desert of Arabia — that nothing eatable or 
drinkable could ever be discovered on its top — and that the 
more they ate the better able they would be to- endure the 
fatigue of the ascent, — made vigorous attacks on the steaks, 
eggs and chickens, and drank coffee, milk and cold water with- 
out limit. Those better advised (and the fact is here set down 
as a bit of practical experience w^orth heeding), — those who 
knew the painful elfect of attempting to. climb a mountain 
when gorged to repletion (the traveller, not the mountain — 
the mountain is always full of '' gorges") — those, we say, con- 
fined themselves to an e^g or two and a small slice of rare 
steak, and drank lightly. 

When the party one by one dropped out from ' ■ -ikfast, 
the scene in front of the house was at once picture.-i;!ii' and 
singular — worth remembering by those who shared in it or 
who have shared in one similar, — and worth the feeble at- 
tempt at verbal daguerreotype which may do something to 
preserve it against that day when the Crawford decays and 
Mount Washington is either levelled off or ascended by means 
of a locomotive or a dumb-waiter 

More than twenty names — somewhat more than half of 
ihem belonging to ladies — were on the book for the ascent ; 
tnd a corresponding number of horses were scattered over 



836 THECOWARD. 

the broad open space in front of the door. All were saddled 
and bridled ; but among them moved half-a-dozen gnides in 
rough coats, thick boots and slouched hats, inspecting and 
tightening the girths, looking to the cruppers and bridles, 
and paying especial attention to the animals provided for the 
female portion of the cavalcade, for whose safety they ever 
hold themselves and are ever held by the hotel-proprietors, 
peculiarly responsible. 

By way of back-ground to this singular scene, under a clump 
of trees to the right walked two full-grown black bears (no 
mountain resort can be thoroughly complete without its 
bears !) — chained and surly, ever keeping their weary round 
and grunting out their disapprobation at being confined to 
such narrow quarters without an occasional naughty youngster 
for lunch. 

But what a spectacle was presented when the mount was 
ready and the riders had all emerged from the door of the 
Crawford ! Were these the belles and beaux of previous 
days, captivating and being captivated by perfection of 
raiment as well as charm of face and grace of figure ? 
If so, never had such a metamorphosis taken place since long 
before Ovid. Every man wore some description of slouched 
hat, brought in his baggage or hired in the hotel wardrobe, — 
bad, very bad, atrocious, or still worse, and each tied down 
over the ears with a thick string or a handkerchief. Coarse 
and old trowsers were turned up over heavy boots ; and the 
roughest and coarsest of box-coats that could be provided 
were surmounted in the majority of instances by striped 
Guernsey shirts still rougher. All the dilapidated gloves 
and coarse tippets that could be mustered, with a few shawls 
and blankets, completed the equipment of a set of men who 
certainly looked too badly even for brigands and seemed the 
enforced victims of some hideous masquerade. 

But if the men looked badly, what shall be said of that 
which should have been the fairer portion of the cavalcade ? 
Salvator Rosa never dreamed of such objects, and Hogarth 



THE COWARD. o37 

Avonld have gone stark mad in tlie attempt to depict them. 
Kinglets were buried under mob-caps and old woollen-hoods, 
and smothered in bad straw hats and superannuated felt 
jockeys, tied down in the same ungraceful manner as those 
of the men. Hoops had suddenly ceased to be fashionable, 
even in advance of the sudden Quaker collapse in the cities ; 
and every shape, bulky or lank, showed in its own undis- 
guised proportions — here a form of beauty, there a draped 
lamp-post, and yonder a bedizened bolster. In short, the 
very worst riding-dresses possible to achieve seemed to have 
been carefully gathered from all the old-clothes shops in the 
universe ; and if the men were the ugliest brigands of the 
dark souled Italian painter, the women were the drollest 
witches that ever capered through the brain of the master- 
dramatist. 

And yet there were sparkling eyes showing occasionally 
from under those hideous bonnets, that perhaps looked the 
brighter for the contrast ; and it is not sure that one or two 
of the sweet auburn curls of Clara Yanderlyn, which had 
strayed away from their confinement and lay like red gold on 
the neck of her shabby black riding-dress, could ever have 
shown to more bewitching advantage. 

Every one laughed at the appearance of the other, as 
the mount was taking place, and as Hartshorne, of the 
Crawford, who seemed to have measured the capabilities of 
every horse and calculated the weight and skill of every 
rider, called off the names from the roll-book, and gave place 
to each in turn. 

Of the material of the mount, it is only necessary to specify 
three or four of the horses, which have to do with the subse- 
quent details of that eventful excursion. Miss Yanderlyn 
bad a neat little black pony, apparently very careful in step, 
and an "old-stager" at ascending the mountains. Her 
brother Frank rode a tall bay, of high spirit and better action 
than any other horse on the ground. Rowan had asked 
Hartshorne (some of the others heard him, with a sensation 
21 



338 THE COWARD. 

of genuine horrov) to give him the worst-tempered horse in 
the stable ; and as lie was known to he an old habitue of the 
mountains, he had been accommodated according to request. 
So far as could be discovered by his action, his horse, a bay 
of fifteen and a half or sixteen hands, with ' ' foot and 
bottom, would kick, bite, strike, run away, shy one side, 
and do every thinir else wicked and unsafe that should taboo 
a horse from being ridden at all, — except stumble, from which 
latter fault he was remarkably clear. Townsend was accom- 
modated with a gray mare of moderate size and a dash of 
Arab blood, that had been unused for nearly a month from 
having nearly broken the neck of one of the })roprietors, on 
his personal allegation that he was at least a fair rider, and 
that the breaking of his own neck would be the least damage 
that could be inflicted on any member of the i)arty. 

Thick morning mists still hid the tops of Mount Webster 
and Mount Willard, visible from the house, and hung amid 
the heavy woods of Mount Clinton, although the storm had 
really passed away with the night, — as at nine o'clock, all 
mounted, the guides took their places, one at the head of the 
cavalcade and the others scattered at intervals through it, 
and the whole line moved off up the mountain. It should be 
mentioned here, however, that Townsend (the observer 
again) saw during the mount the only recognition which 
took place between the two principal persons of his outside 
drama — Halstead Rowan and Clara Yanderlyn. Frank was 
mounting his horse, after having assisted his sister to her 
saddle, when Ptowan brushed by her on his^vicious bay, very 
near her and to the left. He saw their eyes meet, and saw 
Rowan bend so low that his head almost touched the neck 
of his horse. Clara Yanderh^i replied by a gesture quite as 
mute and quite as unlikely to be observed by any one not 
especially watchful. She nodded her head quickly but 
decidedly, and threw the roughly-gloved fingers of ker left 
luittd to her lips. That was all, and of course unobserved by 
Frank Yanderlyn, who mav or mav not have been aware 



THE COWARD. 839 

that the man whom he had insulted was a member of the 
ascending- party ; but it was quite enough, beyond a doubt, 
to set the blood boiling in the veins of the lllinoisan with all 
the fury of the water surging up in flame and smoke in the 
Iceland Geysers. 

T\owan and Townsend had places assigned them near the 
middle of the line, but as the cavalcade began to move, the 
human demon of unrest was missing from his place, lie 
was to be seen at the end of the piazza at that moment, talk- 
ing to Hartshorne, and no doubt making a few additional in- 
quiries as to the character of the amiable animal he bestrode. 
The lawyer called out to him to '' Come on !" but he an- 
swered with a wave of the hand and a shout : 

"Go ahead! don't wait for me I 1 will be with you 
directly !" 

Through the thick woods of Mount Clinton they swept up, 
over a bridle-path so rough as to have made the most 
laborious if not the most dangerous walking — over great 
boulders of stone lying in the very path, and apparently im- 
possible to get over or around — over patches of corduroy 
road utterly defying description, except to the men who 
isolated Fort Donelson and planted the Swamp Angels in 
the marshes of Charleston — over and through gutters and 
gulches of slippery stone and more slippery mud — but ever 
ascending at a painful acclivity. The horses breathed 
heavily ; and their riders, in the thick and foggy air, did 
little better. They caught occasional glimpses through the 
trees, down the sudden slopes at the left, of the thick mist 
rolling below, but could see nothing else to remind them 
of the height they were attaining; and as the dense fog 
swept in their faces, and the trees dripped moisture on them 
when they swept beneath their branches, and the path grew 
more and more desolate and diCQcult, they grew silent, the 
whole cavalcade, apparently by common consent. There are 
aspects in which Nature looks and feels too solemn for the 
light word and the flippant jest; and the man who cannot 



840 THK COWARD. 

be awed licyond his ordinary mood whon standing under the 
edge of the sheet of Niagara, or beside the sea when it is 
lashed into resistless fury, or in gale and mist on the bleak, 
bare, desolate mountains of the North, should never insult 
the grand and the terrible by going into their presence ! 

And yet all persons, who have true reverence in their hearts, 
are not always awed beyond themselves, even in the most 
impressive of situations : as witness, to some degree, the inci- 
dents following. 

They had surmounted the first acclivity, perhaps a mile 
from the Crawford, and were commencing a slight descent 
\vhich made every rider look to the horse's feet and ride with 
a slight tremor, — when the stillness was suddenly broken in 
a manner which almost curdled the blood of the timid and 
needed a second reassurance for even the boldest. 

"Pop-pop-pop-pa-hoo ! Iloo-hoo-oo-oo !" came from the 
path below, v.ith that hideous power and distinctness of lungs 
that have chilled so many hearts and whitened so many faces 
since the white man first intruded on the hunting-grounds of 
the American Indian. A shrill, dissonant, horribk 3'ell, com- 
bining the blind ferocity of the beast with the deadlier rage of 
man, such as made the poor mother clasp her babe closer to 
the breast when it rang around the block-houses of Massa- 
chusetts and New York in the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries — such as less than three years ago proved that it 
w^as undying in the savage throat, by pealing over the mangled 
bodies and burned dwellings of the Minnesota massacres. 

" Good heavens ! — what is that ?" cried half a dozen of the 
ladies in a breath. 

"An Indian war-whoop, certainly !" said one of the gentle- 
men, his face white as wax at the sudden shock. 

" It is war time, and they tell me that the rebels yell terri- 
bly !" said one of the ladies. " Can it be — " but then the 
absurdity of the idea struck her and she paused. 

^'Albert Pike was a New England man : perhaps he is here 



THE COWAKD. 341 

witli his Arkansas savages !" said another, whether in jest or 
earnest no one could well discover. 

It was surprising how in that one instant the cavalcade had 
shortened its length — the foremost stopping and the rearmost 
closing up. Man is a gregarious animal, especially when a 
little surprised or frightened ! 

Perhaps Horace Townsend had been as badly startled as 
any of the others, at the first instant ; but he possessed some 
data which the others lacked for discovering the source of the 
warlike yell. 

" Do not be alarmed, ladies I" he said, after an instant. "I 
think there is only one Indian uttering that horrible sound, 
and you may depend upon it that he is white and no rebel. 
Yes — see ! — here he comes !" 

They had been, as already indicated, descending a quarter 
of a mile of most difficult and dangerous path, in which every 
rider experienced more or less of tremor, and over which the 
horses were picking their careful way as if they realized that 
human necks were in peril. At the instant when the atten- 
tion of the company was thus directed backwards, Halstead 
Rowan had reached the top of the rise, behind, and was just 
giving vent to a second and supplemental yell which rang 
through the woods as if a dozen throats had taken part in it, 
and which must have been heard half way down the Xotch. 

" Pop-pop-pop-pa-hoo I Hoo-hoo-oo-oo !" 

The rider was commencing the descent, too, but not pre- 
cisely like the rest, picking his v{nj, on a careful half-trot, 
half-walk ; on the contrary his horse had his ears laid back 
and was going over the broken stones at such a gallop as he 
might have held on an ordinary highway ! The reins seemed 
to be lying loose on his neck, and — could those horrified people 
believe their eyes ? — so surely as they were threading the 
tangled woods of Mount Clinton, with thankful hearts for 
every rood passed over without broken necks, so -surely 
Halstead Rowan, a novel description of Mazeppa unknown 
even to Frank Dre^^ior Adah Isaacs, sat his horse in what might 



34:2 THE COWARD. 

be called "reverse order," his back towards them and his face 
to the animal's tail ! 

" Good heavens !" " The man is mad !" " Oh, do stop the 
horse!" " It is running away with him !" He will be killed !" 
— such were the exclamations that broke from the party as 
Rowan's equestrianism was recognized — most of them from 
the female portion of the cavalcade. What would it not have 
been worth to see sweet Clara Tanderlyn's face at the moment 
when she first realized who was the reckless rider, and to 
know whether she cared for his welfare at all and whether 
anxiety or confidence predominated in her thought ! 

But the rider did not pause, or seem very much in peril. 
His horse kept his feet quite as well as any of the others; and 
Townsend remembering the Comanches and the Arapahoes, 
was forced to believe that the wild equestrian must have the 
alleged Indian power of communicating his own will to his 
horse, and that he could ride almost anywhere and in any 
manner, in safety. 

Rowan drew the reins (which he had in his hands, after 
all) as he came up with the cavalcade, and said : 

"I hope I did not startle any of 3'ou ladies with my Indian 
w^hoop. Upon my honor I did not mean to do so, if I did ; 
for I hate practical jokes that cause pain, quite as much as 
any of the other fellows, the — gentlemen. But the woods 
tempted me, and I have not enjoyed such an opportunity for 
the use of the lungs, this many a day." 

" I believe some of us were a little frightened for a moment, 
but no harm done,," said Horace Townsend. " But let me 
ask you — is not your riding just a little bit careless ?" 

"Well, yes, just the very least bit in the world, perhaps, 
for some people !" answered the wild fellow ; and Townsend 
fancied that he caught him trying, at the moment, to catch a 
glimpse, unseen by Frank Yanderlyn, under the hood of 
Clara, who was not very far from him. If he did make the 
attempt, he failed, for the young girl dared not or would not 
expose her face. "But come, Townsend," Rowan added, 



THE CO W A i: \). 3-13 

•'will jou not push on with me a little further ahead and let 
)hese slow coaches come up at tlieir leis^ure ?" 

"At your rate of progress? No," laurrhed Townsend. 
"I am not a very bad rider, I believe, but I have never prac- 
tised in a circus or on a prairie. Go ahead, if you are in a 
hurry; that is, provided you know which end is going fore- 
most !" 

" Found another place where you will not follow me, eh, 
old boy !" rattled the Illinoisan, with a reference which the 
other easily understood. " Well, I will see you by-and-bye, 
then. Go along, Bay Beelzebub !" and the next moment, 
darting by the centre line and taking precedence even of the 
leading guide, in a path that was literally nothing but a 
three-cornered trough, he was to be seen ascending the next 
rise, his horse trotting along riderless, and himself springing 
from crag to crag beside the path, his hand upon the animal's 
back and the reins lying loose on its neck. He had alighted, 
of course, without checking the speed of the horse in any 
degree. 

But a few minutes later, and when the cavalcade had 
reached the top of Mount Clinton and was coming out from 
the gloom of the heavy woods into the partial sunshine, — 
they saw the odd equestrian riding over a portion of road 
that was onh' moderately bad, standing erect on his horse's 
back, supported by the reins and his own powers of balanc- 
ing, — and heard his deep, cheery voice ringing out in a song 
that seemed as complete a medley as his own character. It 
may be permissible to put upon record one of the stanzas, 
which some of those nearest him caught and remembered : 

"The lieart bowed down by weiglit of wo — 

Wh^n comin' thro' the rye ? 
If I had a donkey wot wouldn't go — 

Good-hye, tny love, good-hye ! 
I see them on their winding way : 

Old clothes, old clothes to sell ! 
So let's be happy while we may — 

Lost Uahel !" 



8-i4: THE COWARD. 

Still later, the riders were all thrown into momentary 
horror by coming upon him, as they rounded the head of a 
gorge near the top of Mount Prospect, — his horse on a walk, 
and himself hanging over one side, apparently by the heels. 
The impression prevailed that he must have been knocked 
senseless by a limb, in some of his pranks, and got his feet 
fatally 'entangled in the stirrups, — the result of which impres- 
sion was that a sudden scream, in a woman's voice, burst out 
from some portion of the line, but so instantaneously sup- 
pressed that no one could trace it. It turned out that in this 
last operation, so far from being killed, he was only practising 
the Indian mode of hanging beside his horse, supported by 
one hand at the neck and one foot over the saddle, after the 
manner of the wild tribes of the Plains when throwing the 
horse as a shield between themselves and the shot of a 
pursuer ! 

After a time, however, the reckless fellow seemed to have 
grown tired of his humor ; for, as the long line crossed over 
the peak of Prospect to Monroe, and the north wind and the 
sun had so driven away the clouds that the riders began to 
realize the glorious prospect opening upon them on every 
hand, — he took his place in the line, next to his deserted 
comrade Townsend, sat bis horse like a Christian, and joined 
in the bursts of admiration vented on all sides, with an 
enthusiasm which showed that the scenery had never palled 
upon him by familiarity. 

And what views indeed were those that burst upon them 
as they crossed from Franklin to Monroe, and that sea of 
which the stiffened waves were mountains stretched out for 
an hundred miles in every direction ! Some there were, in 
that line, who had stood on the prouder and more storied 
peaks of Europe, and yet remembered nothing to diminish 
the glory of that hour. How the deep gorges slept full of 
warm sunlight, and how the dark shadows flitted over them, 
and flickered, and thinned, and faded, as one bv one the light 
clouds were driven southward bv the wind ! AYith what a 



THE COWARD. 345 

shudder, passing over the narrow ridge or back-bone connecting 
Monroe and Franklin, they looked down into " Oakes' Gulf" 
on the right and the "Gulf of Mexico" on the left, only 
separated by a yard of bushy rock from a descent of three 
thousand feet on one side, and by less than three yards of 
slippery stone from more than two thousand feet on the 
other ! 

The path is a sort of narrow trough, rough enough, but 
quite as safe, and to those who keep it there is not the least 
possible danger. Indeed the rider, half hidden in the trough, 
scarcely knows the fearful narrowness of the bridge over 
which he is passing; and thousands cross this pass and 
recross it, and bring away no idea of the sensation that may 
be gained by a little imprudent hanging over the verge on 
either side ! None of the riders in that cavalcade went back 
to their beds at the Crawford without a much more intimate 
knowledge of the capabilities of that situation ; but of this in 
due time. 

It is impossible for any one who has never made a similar 
ascent, or who has only ascended with a much smaller number, 
to conceive the appearance made by that score of equestrians 
at various points when crossing the open but uneven peaks in 
the last approach to Washington. Varied in stature, sex and 
costume, and all sufficiently outre to astonish if not to horrify, 

what views the leading riders of the line could catch at 

times, looking back at the motley line ! Some half buried in 
the trough of the path or midway in a gulch, so that only the 
head would be visible ; others perched on the very top of a 
huge boulder, ascending or descending ; some clinging close to 
mane or neck as the horse scrambled up an ascent of forty 
degrees ; others lying Avell back on the saddle when descend- 
ing a declivity of the same suddenness. What dreams of the 
Alps and the Apennines there are in such ascents — dreams of 
the toilers over St. Gothard and the muleteers of the Pyrenees 
— dreams of menrory pleasant to those who have such past 
experiences to look back upon, and substitutes no less pleasant 



846 THE COWARD. 

to many who long for glances at other lands but must die with 
only that far-off glimpse of the fulness of travel which Moses 
caught from the hills of the Moabites over that inheritance 
of his race upon which he was never to enter, ' 

It yet wanted half an hour to noon, and Mount Washing- 
ton towered full before them as they came out on the top of 
Franklin, by the little Lake of the Clouds which lay so saucily 
smiling to the sun and coquetting with the mists. The peak, 
a huge mass of broken and naked stone, half a mile up on 
everi'side and so sheer in pitch that foot-hold seemed hopeless, 
would have looked totally discouraging but for the white line 
of path which, winding around it oo the north-west, showed 
that it must before have been achieved. 

Up — up — over broken and slipping stones of every size and 
description, from the dimensions of a brick-bat to those of a 
dining-table — stones gray and mossed, without one spoonful 
of earth to prove that the riders had not surmounted the whole 
habitable globe and lost themselves in some unnatural wil- 
derness of rock ! And feeling joined with sight to enhance 
the desolate fancy, for though so nearly high noon the wind 
blew at that dizzy height with the violence of a gale, and the 
Guernsey wrappers and the clumsy gloves had long before 
proved that the rough and Iromely m:iy be more useful than 
the beautiful. 

Two or three hundred yards from the Tip-Top House, the 
rough stone walls of which were glooming above — the party 
were dismounted, the horses picketed by the guides, and over 
the broken stones and yawning fissures the dismounted riders 
struggled up. strong arms aiding weaker limbs, and much 
care necessary to prevent heedless steps that might have 
caused injuries slow of recovery. Up — up, over the little 
but difficult remaining distance — till all stood by the High 
Altar on the top of ^Mount Washington. 

Above the clouds, swales of which they saw sweeping by, 
half way down the mountain — above the earth, its cares and 
its sorrows, it seemed to them for the moment that they stood ; 



THE COWARD. 347 

and only those who have made such a pilgrimage can realize 
the glory of that hour. The mountains of Vermont North- 
westward, those of Canada North-eastward, those of Massa- 
chusetts to the South and the Franconia range full to the 
West ; lakes lying like splashes of molten silver at their feet 
and rivers fluttering like blue silken ribbons far away ; towns 
nestled in the gorges and hamlds glimmering up from the 
depths of the ravines ; long miles of valleys filled with sunlight, 
as if the very god of day had stooped down and left them 
full of the warmth of his loving kiss ; peak upon peak rising 
behind and beyond each other, and each tinted with some new 
and richer hue, from gold to purple and from sunny green to 
dark and sombre brown ; beyond all, and on the extreme 
verge of the sight-line to the East, one long low glint of light 
that told of the far Atlantic breaking in shimmering waves on 
the rocky coast of Maine ; the world so far beneath as to be 
a myth and an unreality, distance annihilated, and the clear, 
pure air drank in by the grateful lungs appearing to be a 
foretaste of that some day to be breathed on the summit of 
the Eternal Hills, — these were the sights and these the sensa- 
tions amid which the dark cheek of Horace Townsend seemed 
touched with a light that did not beam upon it in the valleys 
below, with his eyes grown humid and utterance choked by 
intense feeling ; while all the heart of glorious womanhood 
in Clara Yanderlyn fluttered up in the truest worship of that 
God who had formed the earth so beautiful ; and even Hal- 
stead Rowan once more forgot pride, poverty, insult, and the 
physical exuberance which made either endurable, to fold his 
Btrong arms in silence, lift the innate reverence of his thoughts 
to the Eternal and the Inevitable, and vow to submit with 
childlike faith to all of triumph or humiliation that might be 
ordained in the future. 



348 THE COWARD. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

Horace Townsend with a Lady in Charge — An adven- 
ture OVER the " Gulf of Mexico'' — Clara Vanderlyn 
in deadly peril — A Moment of Horror — Halstead 
kowan and a display of the comanche riding — 
Townsend's eclipse — The return to the Crawford — 
Margaret Hayley again, and a Conversation overheard. 

It was perhaps two o'clock before the meeting-s and part- 
ings were over between the large party whom we have seen 
ascending from the Crawford, and the yet greater number 
who had come up from the Glen House by the belittling 
novelty of the mountain, the " carriage road," — before the 
dinner at the Tip-Top House was discussed, hearty and plen- 
tiful enough, if not remarkably varied, — before the guides of 
the cavalcade had don€ "chaffing" the carriage drivers from 
the Glen, whom they seemed to regard very much as "old 
salts" do " fresh-water sailors," — before every member of the 
party had viewed the magnificent scenery from every con- 
ceivable point, drank their fill of a beauty that might not be 
duplicated for years or excelled in a lifetime, and filled pockets 
and reticules equally full of all the maps and books that 
could be bought and all the geok)gical specimens that could 
be picked up, as memorials of the visit. By that hour the 
warning of the guides was heard, reminding all that there 
was no more time remaining than would suffice to carry them- 
selves and their tired horses back to the Crawford by night- 
fall. At once, then, the descent began — supposed, in ad- 
vance, to be so uneventful and merely a pleasant diminished 
repetition of the experiences of the ascent. 

As they climbed down the broken rocks of the peak to their 
patiently-waiting horses (they would probably have waited 
patiently until they dropped with hunger, if by that means 
the rider and his saddle could have been avoided ; for your 



T II E C O W A R D. 849 

mountain horse does vol find unalloyed pleasure in his occu- 
pation !)— when near the " corral," as it maybe called, Frank 
Yanderlyn left his sister for a moment and stepped over to 
Horace Townsend, who was descending alone, Halstead Rowan 
(as usual) at some distance ahead and already preparing to 
mount and away. 

" Would you have any objections, sir," the young mun 
asked, "as I believe that you have no lady in charge, to ride 
in company with my sister on the w^ay down ?" 

"Certainly not!" replied Townsend, though a little sur- 
prised at the salutation and request from one of the haughty 
Tanderlyns to whom he had not even been introduced. " I 
shall be proud of the charge, if your sister and yourself 
foci like placing so much confidence in an entire stranger." 

" Oh, ice know a gentleman when we see him !" replied the. 
young man, not a little arrogantly, as it appeared to the 
lawyer, and with a sinister glance at the Illinoisan w^hich in- 
dicated that it would have been some time before he was en- 
trusted with the same responsibility. 

" I am flattered !" said Townsend, wnth the bow which the 
speech demanded and yet did not deserve. " Do you remain 
on the top yourself?" 

"No," answered the young man. "But the fact is that 
my horse kicks. He kicked my sister's pony twice in coming 
up ; and I am afraid of some trouble in going down, if she 
rides behind me. It will be better for me to drop into the 
rear of all, where the ill-tempered devil cannot do injury to 
any one." 

A few w^ords of quasi-introduction and explanation between 
Yanderlyn, Clara and the lawyer followed ; and Horace Towm- 
send, w^ho had come up the mountain without any lady and 
only in the casual companionship of a man who continually 
rode away and left him alone, found himself ready to go down 
it with the fairest member of the company in charge ! Had 
nothing else intervened since the ride up from Littleton to 
the Profile and that long, steady glance of admiration which 



350 THE COWARD. 

had then been bestowed upon the sweet face and auburn 
hair, — what a dangerous proximity this might have proved I 
Bat the human heart, expansive as it may be, has not quite 
the capacity of a stage-coach or a passenger-car; and to 
prevent falling in desperate love with one fascinating woman 
thrown in one's way, there is perhaps no guard so ])otent as 
being in real or fancied desperate love with another ! 

Halstead Rowan and the lady whom Townsend had reason 
to believe the object of his hope and his despair, had not been 
flung together and apart from others, for one moment during 
the day — Mr. Frank Yanderlyn had taken especially good 
care in that respect ; though the lawyer had little cause to 
doubt that if both could have had their choice of companion- 
ship, they would have stood side by side and without others 
too near, by the High Altar which crowned the summit of 
the mountain, and spoken words difficult to unsay again 
during the lifetime of either. But if he had not been alone 
with Clara Yanderlyn, there is equally little doubt that he 
had looked at her much oftener than at the most admired 
point of scenery on the route. And as Frank Yanderlyn 
strolled away to his horse, and Townsend, with the lady ob- 
viously under his charge, was preparing to mount, he saw 
Ftowau, with one foot in the stirrnp and the other on the 
ground, looking over at him and his companion, with the most 
comical expression of wonder on his face that could well have 
been compressed into the same extent of physiognoni}". 
Tlie heart of the new knight-errant, which must have been 
a soft one or he would never have labored under that weak- 
ness, smote him at the thought of his apparent desertion ; and 
with a word of apology he stepped away from the lady and 
approached the dismounted amateur Comanche. 

'' You don't mean to say that you are going to " said 

the latter, and he nodded his head comicalh^ and yet a little 
pitifully towards Clara Yanderlyn. 

" Ride down with Miss Yanderlyn ? Yes !" answered the 
lawyer. 



THE CO W A 11 J) . 851 

♦'And who the deuce asked you to do it, I should like to 
know ?" 

"Her brother." 

" Phew-w-w !" A prolonged whistle, very characteristic 
and sii^nificant. 

Towusend, in a word, explained tiie affair. 

"All right !" said the Illinoisan. " But, look here, old fel- 
low ! You haven't arranged this affair yourself, eh ? Xo 
meetings on a single track, you know !" 

" Xot a bit of it !" laughed Townsend at the professional 
illustration. " Confidence for confidence ! Have you not 
seen more closely than thatV 

" Yes, I thought I had!" answered llowan. " Well, all 
right ! Go ahead ! But by Jupiter, if you do not take the 
best care of that girl, and she gets into any kind of a scrape 
by riding with a man who canH ride, there will be somebody 
challenged to something else than ten-pins !" 

Townsend laughed and turned away. The time had been, 
he thought, when incapacity to ride would scarcely have been 
set down as among his short-comings But every thing, even 
equestrianism, was to be reckoned by comparison ! 

A moment after, all the party were in the saddle ; and then 
commenced a descent still more laborious than the ascent, at 
least to the tired horses that groaned almost humanly as they 
slid down the sudden declivities, and to the more timid of the 
riders. Horace Townsend rode immediately before Miss 
Yanderlyn, a little forward of the centre of the Indian file 
(the only possible mode of riding in those narrow bridle- 
paths) — Rowan half-a-dozen further behind, then two or 
three others, and Frank Yanderlyn, with his dangerous bay, 
bringing up the rear. 

The lawyer found his fair companion all that her face had 
indicated, in the desultory conversation which sprung up be- 
tween them as they made their way downward from the sum- 
mit, descending the peak of the monarch and riding back over 
the broad top of Monroe towards Franklin. Clara Yander- 



ijr)2 THE C U W A K 1) . 

lyn conversed geniall}' and easily, and liad evidently (in 
spite of some restrictions already suggested,) enjoyed the 
da}^ with the full warmth of au ardent nature. She seemed 
an excellent horsewoman, easy and self-possessed in the sad- 
dle, and Townsend observed that she found leisure from the 
care of picking her way, to look back several times over her 
shoulder. For a long time he may have been undecided 
whether her regard was directed at her brother, at the ex- 
treme end of iiic line, or at some one in the middle distance. 
The one glance of anxiet}" would have been very natural : the 
other, compounded of interest only, may have been likewise 
natural enough — who can say ? 

Thc}^ were crossing Monroe to Franklin, over the narrow 
back-bone of land that has been mentioned in the ascent, and 
at the very point where Oakes' Gulf, now on the left, and the 
scarceh' less terrible Gulf of Mexico on the right, narrowed 
the whole causeway to not much more than a dozen of feet, — 
when Townsend heard a sudden and sharp cry behind him. 
At that point the descent of the path was very precipitous, and 
over stones so rugged that the horses kept their feet with great 
difficulty ; and in his anxiety to insure safe footing he had 
for the moment lost sight of his fair companion — a poor 
recommendation of his ability as an escort, perhaps, but not 
less true than reprehensible ! At the cry he turned instantly, 
though he could not so suddenly check the course of his horse 
down the path without danger of throwing him from his feet ; 
and as he looked around, through the olive brown of his cheek 
a deadly whiteness crept to the skin, and his blood stood still 
as it had probably never before done since the tide of life first 
surged through his veins. 

It has been the lot of many men to look upon a horror ac- 
complished or so nearly accomplished that any reversal of the 
decree of fate seemed to be beyond hope. Such is the gaze 
upon the strewn dead of the battle-field, before the life has 
quite gone out from a few who are already worse than dead, 
and w^hen the groans and the cries for " water !" to cool the lipa 



T H K CO W A H D. , ;-,jj3 

parched in the last fever, have not yet entirely ceased. Such is 
the hopeless glance at the windrow of dead strewing the shore 
when a ship is going to pieces in the surf, in plain sight and 
yet beyond the aid of human hands, and when every moment 
is adding another to the dr,owncd and ghastly subjects for the 
rough-coated Coroner. Such is the stony regard at the crushed 
victims of a railroad catastrophe, or the charred and blackened 
remains of those who were but a little while ago living pas- 
sengers on the steamboat that is just burning at the water's 
edge. Such, even, is the shuddering glance at the bravo and 
unconscious firemen who stand beneath a heavy wall, when 
that wall is surging forward and coming down in a crushing 
mass upon their very heads, with no power except a miracle 
of Omnipotence to prevent their being flattened into mere 
pan-cakes of flesh, and blood, and bone. All these, and a 
thousand others, are horrors accomplished or beyond hope of 
being averted ; and they are enough to sicken the heart and 
brain of humanity brought into sudden familiarity with them. 
But perhaps they are not the worst — perhaps that yet unac- 
complished but probable horror is still more terrible, because 
uncertainty blends with it and there is yet enough of hope to 
leaven despair. The life not yet fully forfeited, but going — 
going ; the form not yet crushed out of the human semblance, 
but to be so in a moment unless that one chance intervenes ; 
the face — especially if the face be that of woman, a thousand 
times more beautiful in the relief of that hideous mask of 
death which the gazer sees glooming behind it, — this is per- 
haps the hardest thing of all to see and not go mad. 

None of these conditions may have been quite fulfilled in 
the glance cast backward by Horace Townsend at that mo- 
ment ; but let us see how far the situation varied from the 
most terrible of requirements. 

Going over that back-bone in the morning, the lawyer, who 
chanced to be for the moment alone, had swung himself from 
his horse, leaving the animal standing in the trough, peered 
through the bushes to the right, down into Oakes' Gulf, and 



854 .THE COWARD. 

waited to the edge of the ])road stone that formed the pro- 
jection over the Gulf of Mexico. lie had found that stono 
smooth and rounded, a little slippery from the almost per- 
petual rains and mists beating upon it, not more than eight 
to ten feet wide from the path to the verge, and with a per- 
ceptible slope downwards in the latter direction. He had 
thought, then, that it needed a clear head and a sure foot (both 
of which he possessed) to stand in that position or even to 
tread the stone at any distance from the path. And so think- 
ing, he had swung himself back into the saddle and ridden on, 
— the incident, then, not worth relating — now, a thing of the 
most fearful consequence. 

For as he glanced back, at that sudden cry, he saw Clara 
Yanderlyn sitting her horse on the very top of that smooth 
plateau of stone overlooking the two thousand feet of 
the Gulf of Mexico, at what could not have been more than 
four or five feet from the awful verge, and certainly on the 
downward slope of what was an insecure footing even for the 
plastic foot of man — much more for the clumsy iron-shod 
hoof! 

What could have induced her trained pony to spring out 
from the path a few feet behind and rush into that perilous 
elevation, must ever remain (in the absence of an equine lexi- 
con) quite as much of a mystery as it seemed at that moment. 
Perhaps it was in going down some such declivity of path as 
that before him, that he had been kicked by the vicious bay 
of Frank Yanderlyn while making the ascent, and that he 
had concluded to wait on this convenient shelf until all the 
rest had gone by, before he consented to make the passage 
with his fair burthen. Perhaps the movement was merely 
one of those unaccountable freaks of sullen madness in which 
horses as well as men sometimes have the habit of indulging. 
At all events, such was the situation ; and the recollection of 
it, as thus recalled to those who were present, will be quite 
enough, as we are well aware, to set the heart beating most 
painfully. What, then, must have been the feeling of all who 



THE COWARD. 355 

saw, and especially of that man who had promised to protect 
the fair being thus placed in peril ! What thoughts of the 
playful threat of Halstead Rowan must have rushed through 
his brain — that " if she got into any kind of a scrape by rid- 
ing with a man who couldnH ride," such and such fatal results 
would follow 1 Not a duel with the Illinoisan — oh, no ! — but 
a black, terrible, life-long duel with his own self-reproaches 
and remorse for heedlessness and want of judgment — this 
would be the doom more fearful than a thousand personal 
chastisements, if danger became destruction. One clumsy 
movement of the horse's feet, one slip on the stone, and she 
would as certainly go over that dizzy precipice and fall so 
crushed and mangled a mass into the gulf below that her 
fragments could scarcely be distinguished from those of the 
pony she rode — as certainly as she had grace and love and 
beauty crowning her life and adding to the possible horror 
of her death. He did not know, then, how many of the 
cavalcade saw the situation, or how the blood of most who 
saw stood still like his own, with dread and apprehension. 

The inconceivable rapidity of human thought has been 
so often made a matter of comment, that words could but 
be w^asted in illustrating it. It shames the lightning and 
makes sluggard light itself. All these thoughts in the mind 
of Horace Townsend scarcely consumed that time necessary 
to draw rein and turn himself round in the saddle in a 
quick attempt to alight, rush up the side of the rock and 
seize her horse by the bridle or swing her from her seat. 
He had no irresolution — no moment of hesitation — he only 
thought and suffered in that single instant preceding action. 

" For God's sake do not move I I will be*there in one in- 
stant !" he said in a low, hoarse, intense voice that reached 
her like a trumpet's clang. 

" Oh yes — quick ! quick !" he heard her reply, in a convul- 
sive, frightened voice. " Oh, quick ! — you don't know where 
I am !" 

Poor girl ! — he did know where she was, too well. 



356 THE COWARD. 

She was braver than most women, or she would probaV)ly 
have jerked the bridle or frightened her horse by frantic cries, 
and sent him slipping with herself down the ravine ; for the 
situation was a most fearful one, and there are few women 
who could have braved it without a tremor. A man, let it 
be remembered, if cruel enough, might Lave alighted and 
left the horse to its fate ; but to a w^oman, encumbered by her 
long clothes, the attempt must have been almost certain des- 
truction for both. 

Perhaps not sixty seconds had elapsed after the first cry, 
"vvhen the lawyer succeeded in checking his horse without 
throwing him headlong, swung his foot out of the stirrup, 
and attempted to spring to the ground. But just then there 
was a sudden rush over the rock ; a wierd and unnatural 
sweeping by, something like that of the Demon Hunt in 
" Der Freischutz ;" a cry of terror and fright that seemed to 
come from the whole line in the rear and fill the air with 
ghastly sound ; a closing of the eyes on the part of the in- 
capable guardian, in the full belief that the noises he heard 
were those of the accomplishment of the great horror ; then 
sounds nearer him, and a jar that almost prostrated himself 
and the horse against which he yet leaned ; then a wild cry 
of exultation and delight which seemed — God help his senses ! 
— was he going mad ? — to be mingled with the clapping of 
bands like that which follows a moment of intense interest at 
the theatre ! 

Then silence, and the lawyer opened his eyes as suddenly 
as be had closed them. And what did he see ? On the 
rock, nothing ; in the path, ahead of him, Clara Tanderlyn 
still sitting her horse, though in a half fainting state, and 
Halstead Rowan, also on horseback, ahead of her, and w^th 
his hand holding her bridle ! 

Of course Horace Townsend, at that moment of doubt 
whether he stood upon his head or his heels — whether he 
had gone stark mad or retained a fair measure of sanity — 
whether the enrth vet revolved in its usual orbit or had <?one 



THE COWARD. 357 

wandering off into cometary space, beyond all physical laws 
— of course at that moment he could not know precisely 
what had occurred to produce that sudden and singular 
change ; and he could only learn, the moment after, from 
those who had been on the higher ground behind at the 
moment of the peril. According to their explanations, at the 
moment when they all saw the danger with a shudder and a 
holding of the very breath, Kowan had been heard to utter 
a single exclamation : " Well, I swear !" (a rough phrase, and 
one that he should by no means have used ; but let his 
Western life and training entitle him to some consideration) 
— dashed spurs into the side of his horse — crowded by the five 
or six who preceded him, in a path considered impassable 
for more than one horse at a time — and then, with a wild 
Indian cry that he apparently could not restrain, spurred up 
the side of the rock, between Clara Yanderlyn and the verge 
of the precipice, certainly where the off feet of his horse 
could not have been thirty inches from the slippery edge, and 
literally jerked her horse and herself off into the path by the 
impetus of his own animal outside and the sudden grip which 
he closed upon her bridle as he went by, himself coming 
down into the path ahead, and neither unseated ! Miss 
Yanderlyn's pony had struck the lawyer's horse as he came 
down in his enforced flying leap ; and thus were explained 
all the sights, sounds, and physical events of that apparently 
supernatural moment. 

The scene which followed, only a few moments after, when 
the leading members of the cavalcade (Clara Yanderlyn in 
the midst of it, supported by Rowan, who managed to keep 
near her) — the scene which followed, we say, when they 
reached a little plateau where the company had room to 
gather, will not be more easily effaced from the memory of 
those who were present than the terrible danger which had 
just preceded it. The overstrung nerves of the poor girl 
gave way at that point, and she dropped from her horse in a 
swoon, just as Halstead Rowan (singular coincidence !) had 



358 THE COWARD. 

slipped from the saddle and was ready to catch her as she 
fell ! What more natural than that in falling and being 
caught, she should have thrown her arms round the stout 
neck of the Illinoisan ? And what more inevitable than that 
he should have been a considerable time in getting ready to 
lay her down upon the horse-blankets that had been suddenly 
pulled off and spread for her, — and that finally, the clinging 
grasp still, continuing, he should have dropped himself on one 
corner of the blanket and furnished the requisite support to 
her head and shoulders ? 

Frank Yanderlyn and those who had been farthest behind 
with him came up at that moment; and Horace Townsend, 
if no one else, detected the sullen frown that gathered on his 
brow as he saw his sister lying in the arms of the man whom 
he had so grossly insulted. But if he frowned he said 
nothing, very prudently ; for it is indeed not sure that it 
would have been safe, just then, for an emperor, there present, 
to speak an ill word to the hero of the day. 

Be all this as it may, the usual authorial affidavit may be 
taken that Halstead Rowan retained Clara Yanderlyn, brother 
or no brother in the way, in his arms until some one succeeded 
in obtaining water from a clear deposit of rain among the 
rocks ; that no one — not even one of the ladies — attempted 
to dispossess him of his newly-acquired human territory ; 
that when the water had been brought, and she first gave 
token of the full return of consciousness, she did so by clasp- 
ing her arms around Rowan's neck (of course involuntarily) 
and murmuring words that sounded to Townsend and some 
others near, like : "You saved me! How good and noble 
you are !" and that even under that temptation he did not 
kiss her, as he would probably have sacrificed both arms and 
a leg or two, but not his manliness, to do. 

It was a quarter of an hour after, when Miss Yanderlyn, 
Bufficiently and only sufficiently recovered to ride, was placed 
once more in the saddle and the cavalcade took its way more 
elowly down the mountains. The scenery, under the western 



THK COWAKD. 859 

sun, was even move lovely than that of the morning, the mists 
had all rolled away from every point of the compass, and there 
were some views Franconia-wards that they had entirely 
missed in the ascent. But there was scarcely one of the com- 
pany who had not been so stirred to the very depths of human 
sympathy, by the event of the preceding half-hour, that in- 
animate nature, however wondrously beautiful, was half for- 
gotten. So quickly, in those summer meetings and partings, 
do we grow attached to those with whom we are temporarily 
■associated, especially amid the surroundings of the sublime 
and beautiful, — that had that fair girl lost her life so strangely 
and sadly, not one of all who saw the accident but would 
have borne in mind through life, in addition to the inevitable 
horror of the recollection, a memory like that of losing a dear 
and valued friend. And yet many of them had never even 
spoken to her, and perhaps only one in the whole cavalcade 
(her brother) had known of her existence one week before ! 

Even as it was, there were not a few of that line of 
spectators from whose eyes the vision of what might have 
been, failed to fade out with the moment that witnessed it. 
Some of them dreamed, for nights after, (or at least until 
another occurrence then impending dwarfed the recollection) 
not only of seeing the young girl sitting helpless on that 
perilous rock, but of beholding her arms raised to heaven 
in agony and the feet of her horse pawing the air, as both 
disappeared from sight over the precipice. Some may still 
dream of the event, in lonely night-hours following days of 
trouble and anxiety. 

In the new arrangements for descending the mountains, 
made after the recovery of Clara Vanderlyn, Horace Town- 
send was not quite discarded, but he could not avoid feel- 
ing that very little dependence was placed upon his escort. 
It was of course as a mere jest, but to the sensitive mind 
of the lawyer there seemed to be a dash of malicious earnest 
at the bottom, — that Rowan took the first occasion as he 
passed near him, immediately after the young girl had been 



o60 'J' HE C U \V A R D. 

removed from his arms, to give him a forcible punch in tlie 
ribs, with the accompanying remark : 

"Bah ! I told you that you couldn't ride; but I had no idea 
that you could not do any better at taking care of a woman, 
than that !" 

Townsend quite forgave him that remark, jest or earnest, 
for he saw the new sparkle in his eye, remembered how likely 
he was to have had his mind a little disordered by all that 
sweet wealth of auburn hair lying for so many minutes on his 
breast, and formed his own opinions as to the result. If 
those opinions were favorable, well ; if they were unfavorable, 
he was taking a world of trouble that did not belong to him ; 
for there is always a " sweet little cherub" sitting " up aloft" 
to keep watch over the fortunes of such rattle-pates and dare- 
devils as Halstead Rowan — to supervise their getting into 
scrapes and out of them ! 

But there was nothing of jest, he thought, in the air with 
which Clara Yanderlyn, when re-mounting her horse, reply- 
ing to an earnest expression of regret that one moment of in- 
attention on his part should have allowed her to be placed in 
serious peril, — very kindly denied that he had been guilty of 
any neglect whatever, threw the whole blame upon her horse, 
thanked him for the promptness with which he was coming 
to her relief when forestalled, but then said, looking at Rowan 
with a glance which came near setting that enthusiastic eques- 
trian entirely wild : 

" It seems that I am a very diflBcult person to take care of; 
and if you have no objection to my having two esquires, and 
will allow Mr. Rowan to ride with me as well as yourself, 
and if he is willing to do so, I think that I shall feel" (she did 
not say *' safer", but) " a little more like keeping up my 
spirits." 

Frank Yanderlyn had looked somewhat sullenly on and 
scarcely said a word, since his coming up. But at this speech 
of his sister-s he must have felt that the dignity of the Yan- 
^derlyn family was again in serious peril, for he put his mouth 



T li K COW A KD. 3C1 

close to her ear and spoke some words that were heard by no 
other than herself. They could not have been very satisfac- 
tory or convincing, for Horace Townscnd, and others as well, 
heard her say in reply : 

''Brother, your horse is dangerous— you said so yourself; 
so just be good enough to ride as you did before, and my 
friends here will take care of me." 

Whereupon the young man went back to his horse, look- 
ing a little discomfited and by no means in the best of humors. 
Such little accidents icill occur, sometimes, to mar the best- 
laid schemes of careful mothers or anxious brothers, for pre- 
serving the ultra-respectability of a family ; and wiiether the 
origin of the intervention is in heaven or its opposite, there is 
nothing to be done in such cases but to look wronged and un- 
happy, as did Frank Yanderlyn, or smile over the accom- 
plished mischief and pretend that the event is rather agree- 
able than otherwise, as persons of more experience than Frank 
have often had occasion to do at different periods during the 
current century. 

The result of all this was that Horace Towusend really rode 
down with Clara Yanderlyn in the mere capacity of an esquire, 
while Halstead Rowan assumed the spurs and the authority 
of the knight. The latter rode in advance of her, as near her 
bridle-rein as the roughness of the path would allow ; and no 
one need to question the fact that he kept his eyes on the young 
girl quite steadily enough to secure her safety ! What diflB- 
culty was there in his doing so, w^hen he had already proved 
that he could ride backward nearly as well a.? forward and that 
the footing of his horse was the least thought in his mind ? 
They seemed to be conversing, too, a large proportion of the 
time ; and there is no doubt that Halstead Rowan, carried 
away by the events of the day, uttered words that he might 
have long delayed or never spoken under other circumstances, 
—and that Clara Yanderlyn wore that sweet flush upon her 
face and kept that timid but happy trembling of the dewy 
under-lip, much more constantly than she had ever before 



THE COWARD. 

done in her young life. Horace Townsend, who rode behind 
the lady, did not hear any of those peculiar words which 
passed between her and her companion ; and had ice heard 
tliem they would certainly not be made public in this con- 
nection. 

The lawyer, as has been said, rode behind ; and, as has not 
been said, he did so in no enviable state of feeling. He had 
done nothing — been accused of nothing — in any manner cal- 
culated to degrade him ; but one casual event had thrown a 
shadow across his path, not easily recognized without some 
recollection of characteristics before developed. The reader 
has had abundant reason to believe that this man, profiting 
by some intelligence obtained in a manner not open to the 
outer world, of the peculiar madness of Margaret Hayley 
after that abstraction, courage, — had more or less firmly de- 
termined to win her through the exhibition of certain qualities 
which he believed that he possessed in a peculiar degree. 
One opportunity had been given him (that at the Pool), and 
he had succeeded in interesting her to an extent not a little 
flattering and hopeful ; but envious fate could not allow a 
week to pass without throwing him again into disadvantageous 
comparison with a man who had no occasion whatever of 
making any exhibition of such qualities ! 

That Margaret Hayley would yet remain for some days 
and perhaps weeks in the mountains, and that she would 
probably visit the Crawford before her departure, he had at 
least every reason to believe ; and he had quite as much cause 
for confidence that the story of the adventure over the Gulf 
of Mexico, roundly exaggerated to place himself in a false 
position and to deify the Illinoisan, would reach her ears, 
whether at the Profile or the Crawford, through stage-drivers 
or migratory passengers, within the next forty-eight hours. 
This (for reasons partially hinted at and others which will 
develop themselves in due time) was precisely that state of 
affairs which he would have given more to avoid than any 
other that could have been named ; and this it was that made 



THE COWARD. 363 

a dark red flush of mortification rise at times to his dusky- 
cheek and give an expression any thing but pleasant to his 
eyes, as he rode silently behind the two who were now so 
indubitably linked as lovers, once more over the top of Pros- 
pect and down the rugged declivities of Clinton. Those who 
have ever been placed in circumstances approaching to these 
in character, can best decide whether the lawyer was sulking 
for nothing or indulging in gloomy anticipations with quite 
sufficient reason. 

It was nearly sunset and the light had some time disap- 
peared from the valleys lying in the shade of the western 
peaks, when the last stony trough and the last corduroy road 
of Mount Clinton was finally repassed, and the whole caval- 
cade, each member of it perhaps moved by the one idea of 
showing that neither horse nor rider was wearied out — broke 
once more into a trot as they caught the first glimpse of the 
Crawford through the trees, dashed merrily out from the edge 
of the woods, and came up in straggling but picturesque order 
to the door of the great caravanserai. The difficult ride of 
eighteen miles had been accomplished ; the golden day (with 
its one drawback of momentary peril) was over ; and more 
than half a score who had before only thought of the ascent 
of Mount Washington as a future possibility, suddenly found 
that they could look back upon it as a remembrance. 

As they rode up to the front of the Crawford, the \fliole 
end of the piazza was full of new-comers and late sojourners, 
watching the return of those who had preceded or followed 
them — an idle, listless sort of gathering, showing more curi- 
osity than welcome, such as the traveller by rail or steamboat 
sees crowding every platform at the expected time of the 
arrival of a train and every pier at the hour for the coming 
in of a boat. Cries of: "All safe, eh?" "Glad to see you 
back again !" " Hope you had a pleasant day !" and " Well, 
how did you like Mount Washington ?" broke from twenty 
lips in a moment, mingled with replies and non-replies that 
came simultaneously: " Oh, you ought to have gone up with 



864 THE COWARD. 

US !" " Mj borse carried me like a bird !" (the last remark, 
presumably, froui a fat man of two hundred and sixty, whom 
not even an elephant could have borne in that suggestively 
buoyant manner), "Never was such a da}" for going up, in 
the world !" " Safe, eh ? Yes, why not ?" (that from a person, 
no doubt, w^ho bad really been prodigiously scared at some 
period of the ride), and the one inevitable pendant : " Oh, 
you have no idea what an adventure we have had ! — one of 
the ladies came near being killed — tell you all about it by- 
and-bye," etc., etc. 

Horace Townsend, who had been riding the last mile very 
much like a man in a dream and really with the formal charge 
of Clara Yanderlyn entirely abandoned to her chosen protec- 
tor — Horace Townsend heard all this, as if he heard through 
miles of distance or at a long period of time after the utter- 
ance. For his eyes were busy and they absorbed all his 
sensations. He had recognized, at the first moment of riding 
up, among the crowd of persons on the piazza, the dark, proud 
eyes and beautiful face and stately form of Margaret Hayley, 
leaning on the arm of that man whom he had not by any 
means learned to love since his advent in the mountains — • 
Captain Hector Coles, Y. A. D. C. They had waited clear 
weather before starting frotn the Profile, and come through 
that day while his party had been absent up the mountains : 
be realized all at a thought, and realized that whatever he 
was himself to endure of trial lay much nearer than he had 
before believed. Disguised and indeed disfigured as the law- 
yer was, in common with all the other members of the caval- 
cade, to such a degree that only observation and study could 
penetrate the masquerade, — it was not at all strange that the 
lady failed to meet his eye with an answering glance of recog- 
nition ; and he felt rather grateful than the reverse, for the 
moment, that his disguise was so efiectual. "While Clara 
Yanderlyn, a third time within one week the passive heroine 
of the mountains, was being lifted from her saddle by half a 
dozen officious hands, and while the rest of the party were 



THE C U W A K I). 365 

gabbling as Ibcy aligbtctl, — be slipped quietly from bis borse 
bebind one corner of tbe piazza, tbrew bis rein to one of tbe 
stable-boys, and disappeared tbrougb tbe ball, up-stairs to bis 
cbamber. 

He did not again make bis appearance until supper was on 
tbe tables and tbe battle of knives-and-forks going on with 
that vigor born of mountain air. Most of tbe visitors at tbe 
bouse, tbe voyagers of tbe day included, were already seated ; 
and among tbem was Clara Yanderlyn, apparently no wbit 
the worse for ber day's adventure, her brother at one and ber 
motber at tbe other side. A little further down tbe table, on tbe 
same side, sat Ilalstead Kowan, occupying tbe same seat of 
tbe evening before. He bad evidently dropped back from bis 
familiar standing witb tbe lady, tbe moment they came within 
the atmosphere of Mrs, Yanderlyn and tbe great republic of 
voices at tbe Crawford ; but quite as evidently be bad not yet 
fallen away from bis last-won position as a hero, for bis face 
was continually flushing, as be ate, witb tbe modesty of a. 
girl's, when the whispers and nods and pointings of interest 
and admiration were made so plain that tbey reacbed bis eye 
and ear. The adventure of tbe day was undeniably tbe topic 
of tbe evening, and Halstead Rowan was tbe hero ; and it 
may be imagined bow much tbis knowledge and tbe inevita- 
ble corollary that some one else was not the bero, added to 
tbe comfort of tbe late-comer at table. 

Margaret Hayley, Mrs. Burton Hayley and Captain Hector 
Coles were also at supper, but tbey bad nearly finished when 
Townsend took bis seat. They rose tbe moment after, and 
as tbey did so tbe lawyer, now once more so arrayed as to 
display his own proper person, caught tbe eye of Margaret. 
She nodded and smiled, yes, smiled ! — in answer to bis bow 
across tbe table ; and he could almost have taken his profes- 
sional oath that a quick sparkle came to her eye when she 
saw him, then died away as quickly as if compelled back by a 
strong will. Mrs. Burton Hayley did not seem to see him at 
all ; but Captain Coles signified that he did so, by a glanco 



366 THE COWARD. 

of such new-born contempt blended with old hatred, as he 
should never have wasted upon any one except a national 
enemy whom he had just defeated in arms. The party swept 
down the room, and very soon after the others whom we have 
noted also rose and disappeared, leaving Horace Townsend 
discussing his supper with what appetite he might. It may 
be consoling to some curious persons to know that that appe- 
tite was by no means contemptible, and that he did not 
falter in physique if restless unquiet and anxiety made a prey 
of his mind. 

Salf an hour after, he was smoking his cigar on the 
piazza, none whom he knew within view ; and he strolled 
out into the edge of the wood to the right of the house, to 
enjoy (if enjoyment it could be called) solitude, gloom and 
darkness. The path he followed led him eventually round 
in a circle and brought him back to the edge again, only a 
few yards from the house and near the spot where the two 
huge bears were moving about, dense black spots in the twi- 
light. There was a rude bench beneath the trees not fai 
from what might have been called their " orbit" (especially ag 
they are sometimes " stars" at the menageries) ; and on that 
bench he discovered three figures. He was but a little dis- 
tance away when he first saw them and that they were two 
ladies and a gentleman ; and he was still nearer before ho 
became aware that they were the Hayleys, mother and 
daughter, with their inevitable attendant and cavalier. 

They were in conversation, not toning it so low as if they 
had any particular anxiety against its being overheard ; and 
yet Horace Townsend, much as he might have wished to 
know every word that came from the lips of at least one of 
the three, might have passed on without listening intention- 
ally to one utterance, if he had not chanced to hear that they 
were discussing the event of the day. That^ fact literally 
chained him to the root of the tree near which he was stand- 
ing — he was so anxious to know what version of the affair 
had already been circulated and given credence among the 



THE COWARD. 367 

three or four hundred visitors at the Crawford, and especially 
among the particular three of that number. 

It has before been said, we fancy, by that widely-known 
wTiter, "Anonymous," that listeners do not always hear any 
notable good of themselves. And Horace Townsend, in stop- 
ping to play the eaves-dropper, at least partially illustrated the 
saying. He heard a version of the Gulf of Mexico affair, 
from the lips of Captain Coles, calculated to make him, if he 
had any sensitiveness of nature and a spark of the fighting 
propensity, kill himself or the narrator. 

" I think I have heard enough of it," Margaret Hayley was 
saying, as Townsend came within hearing. " I really do not 
know that Miss Yanderlyn, though a pleasant girl enough, is 
of so much consequence that the whole house should go crazy 
over one of her little mishaps in riding." 

''A little mishap !" echoed the Captain. " Phew ! — if I 
am not very much mistaken it was a hig mishap — ^just a 
hair's-breadth between saving her life and losing it !" 

"Is it possible?" said Mrs. Burton Hayley. "Why 
dear me, Captain Coles ! — that is very interesting, especially 
if her being saved was providential. Did you hear the par- 
ticulars, then?" 

" Shall we go in, mother ?" asked Margaret. 

" No, my dear, not yet !" answered Mrs. Burton Hayley. 
" Captain Coles is just going to tell us what really happened 
to the young lady who was so mercifully spared. Go on, 
Captain, please." 

"Well, the story is a short one, though thrilling enough, 
egad I — to put into a romance !" said the Captain. "Young 
Waldron, that we met at the Profile, was one of the party, and 
he told me about it while you were dressing for supper. It 
appears that Miss Yanderlyn went up with her brother, and 
that something happened to his horse — it got lamed, or some- 
thing, — so that he could not ride down with her. He was 
fool enough, then, to put her under the charge of that friend 
of yours, Margaret — " 



368 THE COWARD. 

" Captain Coles, will you be kind enough to confine your- 
self to your story, if you must tell it, and leave my name out 
of the question ?" was the interruption of the youns: lady — 
no unpleasant one to the listener,— at that point of the narra- 
tion. 

" Humph ! I do not see that you need be so sensitive 
about it !" sneered back the Captain. " Well, then, not that 
friend of yours, but that man, who has not less than a dozen 
names and who lives in Philadelphia and Cincinnati and 
several other cities." 

"Yes, the man whose handkerchief you took out of his 
pocket the other night, in the ten-pin alloy, to see whether his 
initials were correct !" again interrupted ^NFargaret in a tone 
of voice not less decided than that of the other was taunting 
and arrogant. 

It was much too dark, under the shade of the trees, at that 
moment, to see the face of Captain Hector Coles, or he might 
have been discovered, even under his moustache, biting his 
lip so sharply that the blood came. An eye keen enough to 
have seen this, too, would have been able to see that Horace 
Townsend trembled like an aspen leaf, that great beads of 
sweat started out on his brown forehead, while he muttered a 
fierce word of anger and indignation that died away on the 
night air without reaching any human ear. 

Captain Hector Coles choked an instant and then went on : 

" He entrusted her to the care of that adventurer, who 
managed, before they had ridden a mile, to lose his way and 
his presence of mind at tlie same time — got her and her pony 
on the top of a slippery rock where there were ten thousand 
chances to one that she would fall a thousand feet over the 
precipice — and then sat on his horse, white as a sheet and too 
badly scared to attempt rescuing her, yelling like a booby for 
help, until that coarse fellow from somewhere out West came 
up and grasped her just as she was going over." 

What would not Horace Townsend have given for a grip 
of the throat of Captain Hector Coles at that moment ? And 



T HE COWARD. 369 

what would he not have given to hear Margaret Hayley 
say : " I do not believe the story ! The man who leaped 
into the Pool the other day, is not the booby and poltroon you 
would make him, just because you are jealous of him, Captain 
Hector Coles !" What, we say, would the listener not have 
given to hear thai ? Alas ! — he had no reason to expect any 
such word, and no such word was spoken. Margaret Hayley 
merely rose from her seat, saying : 

" Now, if you have finished that rigmarole, in which nobody, 
I think, is in the least interested, we will go to the house, for 
I am taking cold." 

The others rose, and the three moved towards the house- 
Horace Townsend did not move towards the house, but in 
another direction, his heart on fire and his brain in a whirl. 
But as they went ofi* he heard the Captain say, apparently in 
response to some remark of Mrs. Burton Hayley 's which was 
not caught at that distance : 

" Of course I believe him to be a coward as well as a dis- 
reputable character. Any man who would flinch from any 
exposure, especially like that on a mere edge of a cliiF, to save 
life, is the basest kind of a coward. Such men ought to stand 
a little while among bullets, as we have to do, and they would 
soon show themselves for what they are worth." 

Horace Townsend saw nothing more of either that night, 
or of any of the others with whom this narration has to do. 
There was no music, other than that of the piano, in the parlor 
of the Crawford, and early beds were in requisition. Many, 
who had not ascended the mountains, had ridden hard and 
long in other directions ; and for the people of the Mount 
Washington cavalcade themselves — they were very tired, very 
much exhausted and very sleepy, and romance and flirtation 
were obliged to succumb to aching bones and the invitatioQs 
of soft pillows. Halstead Ptowan, even, did not roll a single 
game of ten-pins before he retired to his lonely chamber — 
physico-thermometrical proof of the general worn-out condi- 
tion ! 

23 



370 THE COWARD, 



CHAPTER XYIII. 

Horace Townsend and Margaret Hayley — A strange Ren- 
contre IN THE Parlor — Another Rencontre, equally 
strange but less pleasant — How Clara Yanderlyn 

FADED AWAY FROM THE MOUNTAINS — AnD HOW THE Co- 

MANCHE Rider disappeared. 

Breakfast was nearly over, the next morning, and many 
of the guests had left the tables, when Horace Townsend 
strolled into the parlor, attracted by the ripple of a set of very 
light fingers on the piano — something not usual at that early 
hour. He found the great room entirely unoccupied, except by 
the player; and he had half turned to leave the room in order 
to avoid the appearance of intrusion, when he ventured a 
look at the pianist and discovered her to be Margaret Hayley ! 
Then he hesitated for a moment, bowed, and was again about 
to retire, when the young girl ro."=e from tl>€ piano and ad- 
vanced towards him. He was a man, past those years when 
the blood should rush to the face with the rapidity of that of 
a school-girl ; but the dark cheek was certainly flame in an 
instant as she came nearer, and when she spoke his name his 
whole appearance evinced some feeling so much like terror 
that the object of it seemed to start back with a correspond- 
ing emotion. That w^as the first instance in which he had 
chanced to be alone for one moment with the lady, from the 
time of their first meeting at the Profile, and something might 
be forgiven a bachelor on that account ; but some cause be- 
yond this must have moved that man, accustomed alike to 
society, to the company of women and the making of public 
appearances. 

If he tried to speak, his breath did not shape itself into 
audible words ; and Margaret Hayley was very near him 
and had herself spoken, before he in any degree recovered 
from that strange confusion. 



THE CO \V A R D. S71 

" Good-morninj:^, Air. Townsend," she said ; and — mingled 
surprise and rapture to the man who had licard himself so 
denounced in her presence the night before ! — she held out 
those long, slight, dainty white fingers to shake hands with 
him 1 An advance like that, and from her ! That thought 
seemed almost to take away his breath, and he really per- 
mitted those tempting fingers to be extended for quite a mo- 
ment before he took them. 

" Good-morning, Miss Hayley," at length he uttered, in a 
voice low and perceptibly husky, taking the offered hand at 
the same instant, but scarcely holding it so long as even the 
briefest acquaintance might have warranted. 

One instant's pause : the lady was not doing as ladies of 
her delicacy and gentle breeding are in the habit of doing 
under corresponding circumstances — she was looking the 
lawyer steadily and still not boldly in the face, penetrating 
inquiry in her eyes, as if she would read the soul through 
the countenance, and yet with an interest shown in her own 
which made the act a compliment instead of an insult, 

''I am afraid that you are not a very cordial friend," at last 
she said. "I hoped that I had made one, the other day, after 
nearly drowning you ; but last night you merely bowed with- 
out speaking, and this morning when you see me you attempt 
to run away !" 

There was warm, genial, kindly pleasantry in her tone — 
pleasantry a little beyond what the proud face indicated that 
she would bestow upon any casual acquaintance ; and per- 
haps that recognition did something to unlock the tongue that 
had been silent. 

" You are very kind to remember me at all !" he said. 
*' Some of us poor fellows of the rougher sex have reason to 
be glad to form new acquaintances or remember old ones; but 
beautiful women like yourself. Miss Hayley, are much more 
likely to wish to diminish the list than to increase it." 

" What ! — a compliment already I" she said, in the same 
tone of gayety. "But I forgot — you told me that you were a 



S72 THE COWARD. 

lawyer, and I believe that you all have a sort of license to say 
words that mean nothing." 

"Oh, you paid the first compliment!" answered Townsend, 
catching her tone, as they turned in the unconscious prom- 
enade into which their steps had shaped themselves, and 
walked down the still lonely parlor. 

" I ? How ?" she asked. 

"By noticing me at all I" was the reply. 

" Very neatly turned, upon my word ! — and still another 
repetition of the same compliment smuggled into it ! Decidedly 
you must be a dangerous man in the presence of a jury." 

" Let me hope that you will not consider me so, and I shall 
be content with the other part of the reputation," 

Xeither said any thing more for a moment, though they 
were still walking together with any thing rather than the 
manner of comparative strangers. Then Horace Townsend 
paused in his walk, and said, his voice falling nearly as low 
as it had been at first : 

" Miss Hayley, this is the first opportunity that I have 
enjoyed of speaking with you, away from the ears of others. 
Will you pardon me if I do not deal altogether in compli- 
mentary badinage, but speak a few words of earnest ?" 

"What can y<5u mean, Mr. Townsend?" She looked at 
him for a moment, as if in doubt, then added : " Yes, cer- 
tainly I" 

"Then, to be candid — that is, as candid as I dare be," said 
the lawyer, "I have taken the great liberty of being very 
much interested in you, since the first day we met. I had 
no reason to expect you to be correspondingly impressed, 
but—" 

" What am 7 to expect at the end of this, Mr. Townsend ?" 
she interrupted him. " Are you sure that you are not about 
to say very imprudent words, out of time, out of place, and 
that may do much evil while they cannot accomplish any 
good ?" 

He saw her put her left hand to her heart, when she made 



THE COWARD. 373 

the interruption, as if some sudden pang had pierced her or 
some organic pain was located there ; and all the past gayetj 
of her manner was gone. 

" I am perfect!}- sure, Miss Hayley I" he said, bowing ; and 
the assurance was received with a nod of confidence. " I have 
only said what any gentleman of respectability ought to be 
able to say to any lady without ofience — that I have been 
very much interested in you ; and I was about to say that 
while I had.no reason to expect nn^ impression to be returned, 
yet I felt that I had a right to fair-dealing and no unfavorable 
prejudgment." 

"Fair-dealing? prejudgment?" she uttered, in a not un- 
natural tone of surprise. "Does my conduct of this morn- 
ing — oh, what am I saying ? — Mr. Townsend, I do not un- 
derstand you !" 

"Of course you cannot, until I explain," said the lawyer. 
" I have just said that you honored me too much, but I cannot 

extend that remark to some of your most intimate friends • 

Captain Coles, for instance — who may be — I hope you will 
excuse what may sound like an impertinence but is certainly 
not intended to be such — more nearly connected with yourself 
and your future plans in life than I have any right to know." 

There was respectful inquiry in his tone, though he by no 
means put the remark as a question. Margaret Hayley 
recognized the tone but did not see the keen interrogation in 
his eyes at that moment, for her own — those proud, mag- 
nificent eyes — were drooped to the floor. 

" By which you mean,'-' answered the lady, "that you think 
it possible that Captain Coles is my betrothed husband." 

" I am sorry to say — j^es !" said the lawyer, his voice again 
dropped very low. 

" Well, the remark, which amounts to a direct question, is 
certainly a singular one to come from a man who has no 
right — even of old acquaintance — to make it," responded 
Margaret. " And yet I will answer it, a little more frankly 
than it was put ! Captain Hector Coles is not, and never 



374 THE COWARD. 

will be, any nearer in relationship to myself than you see him 
to-day." 

" I thank you very much for the confidence, to which, as 
you say, I have no right," said Townsend. " It makes what 
I have yet to say a little easier. I beg you not to misunder- 
stand me when I tell you that I was last evening an acci- 
dental listener to the story of my disgraceful conduct coming 
down the mountains, as told by the Captain at second-hand, 
as well as to his allegations that I was a coward and an 
adventurer." '^ 

Margaret Hayley did not say " What, eaves-dropping ?"' 
as the heroine of sensation romance or melo-drama would 
certainly have been called upon to do. She did not even 
question how he had heard what he alleged. She merely 
said : 

" I am sorry, indeed, if you heard words that should never 
have been spoken." 

" I did hear them," pursued the lawyer, " and I really did 
not suppose, this morning, that after hearing the statements 
made by the Captain, you would even have cared to pursue 
the very slight speaking acquaintance you had done me the 
honor to form with me." 

" Had I believed them, I would not !" spoke the lady, 
frankly. 

" And you did not believe them ?" Tone ver\' intense and 
anxious. 

" Not one word of them !" Tone very sharp and decided. 

" God bless the heart of woman, that leaps to tbe truth 
when the boasted brain of man fails !" said Townsend, fer- 
vently. " Not every word that he said was a falsehood, but 
every injurious one was so, if I know myself and what I do. 
May I tell you what really occurred yesterday on the moun- 
tain, so that you may better understand the next version ?" 

" I shall be very happy to hear your account," she replied, 
' for the incident must at all events have been a thrilling one." 

" It was thrilling indeed, as you suppose," said the lawyer. 



TEE COWARD. 875 

** People form romances sometimes out of much less, I 
fancy !" The two stood by the window, looking at the 
hurrying to and fro of drivers and passengers preparing for 
some late departures ; and so standing, Horace Townsend 
briefly and rapidly related the facts of the adventure. Mar- 
garet Hayley did not turn her eyes upon him as he spoke, 
and a part of the time she was even drumming listlessly and' 
noiselessly on the glass with those dainty white fingers ; but 
that she was listening to him and to him only was evident, 
for the speaker could catch enough of her side-glance to 
know that eye and cheek were kindling with excitement, and 
he could hear the quick breath laboring in throat and nostrils 
almost as if she herself stood in some situation of peril. She 
was interested — he felt and knew it, — not only in the danger 
of Clara Yanderlyn and the rash bravery in riding of Halstead 
Rowan, but in him — in the scape-goat of the occasion ; and 
he was stirred by the knowledge to a degree that made a 
very cool and clear head necessary for avoiding a plunge 
quite as fatal in its effects as would have been that from the 
brow of the precipice ^ver the gulf. 

" And that is the whole story — a dull one, after all, I am 
afraid !" he said, not altogether candidly, perhaps, in con- 
clusion. 

" Dull ? oh no, Mr. Townsend, every thing but dull I" was 
her reply. "■ I have seldom been so much interested in any 
relation. And the facts, so far as they relate to yourself, are 
very nearly what I should have supposed after hearing the 
story floating about the hotel." 

" You seem to have something of the legal fciculty — that 
of sifting out truth from falsehood, grain from chaff!" said 
the lawyer, looking at her a little searchingly. 

"I? No, not always, though I may be able to do sb 
sometimes," she said, somewhat sadly, and with a sigh choked 
in its birth. " I have made some terrible mistakes in the 
judgment of character and action, Mr. Townsend, youn^ as 
my life is ; but perhaps the effect of all that is to m'ake me a 



376 THE COWARD. 

little more careful in the reception of loose statements, and 
so I may have lost nothing. And now — " 

" — I have occupied as much of your time as you can spare 
me this morning," the lawyer concluded the sentence for her, 
with a smile calculated to put her at her ease in the dismissal. 

" Well, you draw conclusions pretty rapidly !" she said, 
turning her eyes upon him curiously. " I was going to ex- 
cuse myself; and yet I should not be afraid to make a small 
woman's-wager that you err in at least half of your calcu- 
lation ?" 

" As how ?" asked the lawyer, somewhat surprised. 

"Why, Mr. Townsend," answered Margaret Hayley (and 
what woman who held less true pride and less confidence ia 
herself would ever have spoken so singularly, not to say 
boldly ?) *' it is at perhaps a rather early period in our ac- 
quaintance for me to return your candor with any thing that 
corresponds, and yet I feel disposed to waive the woman's 
right of reticence and do so. You think that I am already 
tired of your company and conversation, and that when you 
leave me I may go into pleasanter company. You are mis 
taken — I think you will not misunderstand me, any more 
than I did you a while ago, when I say that I quite recipro- 
cate the interest and friendship you have expressed, and that 
I shall not go into more congenial associations when I leave 
you ! There, will that do ?" 

Her eyes were smiling, but there was a tell-tale flush ou 
either cheek, as she said this and extended those taper fingers, 
bending her proud neck the while, it must be confessed, a 
Wile as a queen might do when conferring knighthood upon 
one of her most favored nobles. Horace Townsend, in strict 
propriety, should have taken that offered Land in the tips of 
his own fingers, liowed over it, and let it fall gently back to 
its place. Pie was not playing strict propriety, as, indeed, 
the lady had not been for the past few minutes ; and whether 
he took that chance before the surprised owner of the hand 
could draw it away, or whether there was very little surprise 



THE C O W A R 1). 377 

or offence in the matter, certain it is that though he did bow 
over the hand, he bowed too low— so low that his still 
warmer lips touched the warm fingers with a close, clinging 
pressure, and that the breath from those lips sent a tingle 
through every pulse of that strange gir), who was either 
dangerously frank or an arrant coquette. 

That rape of the fingers perpetrated, Townsend turned 
away, too suddenly to notice whether his action had planted 
yet deeper roses on the lady's check. Margaret Hayley went 
back towards the piano, without another word, apparently to 
re-commence her suspended musical exercises, and the lawyer 
passed through the door leading into the hall. He did not 
do so, however, sufficiently soon to escape the notice of 
Captain Hector Coles, who, apparently on a voyage of dis- 
covery after the truant Margaret, strode into the parlor just 
as the other was leaving it, and as he nodded managed at the 
same time to stare into the lawyer's face in so supercilious 
and insulting a manner that he fairly entitled himself to what 
he did not receive — a mortal defiance or a blow on the spot I 
It was plain that he recognized Margaret Hayley at the 
piano, and that he saw she must have been alone with the 
object of his suspicion and hatred : was there not indeed 
some cause for the face of the gallant Captain assuming such 
an arrogant ferocity of aspect as might have played Gorgon's 
head to a whole rebel army ? But the awkward meeting did 
not seem seriously to disturb the young lady : she looked up 
from her keys, saw the foes in the doorway, saw the glance 
they interchanged, and then dashed those bewitching fingers 
into a German waltz of such startling and impudent brilliancy 
that it seemed to accord almost premeditatedly with certain 
points in her own character. 

Here, to Horace Townsend, the curtain of that morning 
shut down. He passed on and did not see the meeting be- 
tween Captain Hector Coles, and " the lady" (more or less) 
"of his love," which may or may not have been cordial and 
ao:reeable to an extreme ! 



878 THE COWAKD. 

Another of those inevitable dashes, here. They are very 
nseful, as they prevent the necessity of a steady and unbroken 
narration which would not be at all like real lifo — that thing 
most unsteady and most constantly broken into fragments. 

The reader, who is perhaps by this time somewhat sated 
with White Mountain scenery (though, sooth to say, no gazer, 
however old a habitue, ever was so) — the reader is to be 
spared an}' further infliction, except as one remaining point 
of personal adventure may require the advantage of appro- 
priate setting ; and the mountains themselves are soon to fade 
away behind writer and reader, as they have faded away amid 
longing and lingering looks from the eyes of so many, losing 
their peaks one by one as they swept up Northward by 
rail from Gorham or rolled down Southward by coach through 
the long valley of the Pemigawasset to Plymouth. The 
thousand miscellaneous beauties of the AYhite Mountain 
!N'otch, grander than those at the Franconia but far less easy 
of intelligent description — the magnificent long rides down the 
glen and over the bridges that span the leaping and tumbling 
rock-bedded little Saco — the Willey House with its recollec- 
tions of a sad catastrophe and its one-hundred-and-fifty-eighth 
table being cut up and sold in little chips at a dime each, as 
''the one used by the unfortunate Willey Family," — all these 
must wait the eye that is yet to see them for the first time, or 
linger unrecounted in the memories of those who have made 
them a loving study in the past. Personal adventure must 
hurry on, like the ever accelerating course of the goaded and 
maddened nation, and eliciting the same inquiry — whither'^ 

Two days following the events already recorded, and all 
the difi'erent characters involved in this portion of the life- 
drama, yet lingered at the Crawford. On one of the two days 
another ascent of Mount Washington had been made ; but 
with the exception of Mrs. Burton Hayley, her daughter and 
Captain Hector Coles, all those people peculiarly belonging to 
us had already made the ascent, and it was the intention of the 
Philadelphia matron (perhaps a little influenced by the story 



THE COWARD. 879 

of the Yanderlyn peril) to go up herself and take up her 
small party from the Glen House by carriage, when her stay 
at the Crawford should be completed. 

In all that time we have no data whatever for declaring the 
state of affairs existing between Halstead Rowan and the lady 
vvhose auburn hair had lain for those few blissful moments on*- 
his breast. Probably no explicit love-declaration had passed 
between them ; and Mrs. Yanderlyn and her arrogant son 
were sufficiently familiar with all the modes by which those 
who wish to be together can be kept apart, to prevent any of 
those dangerous " opportunities" which might otherwise have 
wrought an immediate mesalliance upon the stately house of 
Tanderlyn. If the would-be lovers met, they only met 
beneath watchful eyes ; and Halstead Kowan, who had already 
(■•isplayed that amount of dash and recklessness in personal 
exposure indicating that an elopement down the mountain 
roads, with a flying horse beneath him and his arm around 
the lady's waist, would have been the most congenial thing 
in life to his nature, — even had Clara Yanderlyn been weak 
enough to yield to such a proposal, bore all the while within 
him too much of the true gentleman to lower himself by a 
runaway alliance, or to compromise the character of the 
woman he wished to make his wife by wedding her otherwise 
than in the face of all who dared raise a word of opposition. 
So there seemed — heigho, for this world of disappointments, 
hindrances, and incongruities ! — little prospect that anything 
more could result from the meetings that had alread}^ been so 
eventful, than an early and final parting, and two lives 
shadowed by one long regret that the fates had not ordained 
otherwise. 

But little more can be said of the fortunes, during those 
two days, of Horace Townsend and the lady of the proud eyes 
and the winning smile. Two or three times they had met 
and conversed, but only for a moment, and they had by no 
means ever returned again to the sudden cordiality and con- 
fidence of that first morning. Something in the manner of 



380 THE C O W A R D . 

Margaret Hayley seemed to give token that she was fright- 
ened at the position she had assumed and the emotions of her 
own heart (might she not well have been — she who but a 
month or two before had been clasped to the breast of an ac- 
cepted lover and believed that she held towards him a life- 
long devotion ?); and something in the demeanor of Horace 
Townsend quite as conclusively showed that he was treading 
ground of the solidity of which he was doubtful, and impelled 
to utter words that could not be spoken without sacrificing 
the whole truth of his manhood ! Captain Hector Coles had 
believed his name an assumed one and looked after the initials 
on his handkerchief to satisfy himself of the fact ; and the 
reader has found reason to believe that there was really an 
assumption : did that departure from truth already begin to 
assert its penalty, when he was brought into contact with a 
woman who showed her own candor so magnificently ? 
Strange problems, that will be solved eventually without any 
aid from the imagination. 

Once during that two days there had been a collision be- 
tween the lawyer and the Y. A. D. C, not one word of which, 
probably, had reached the ears of the lady in w^hose behalf it 
had occurred, from the lips of the politic Captain, or from any 
of those who saw and heard it, — as it certainly had not been 
hinted to her by the other party in the rencontre. 

That collision had happened in this wise. 

On the afternoon of the same day on which the very pleas- 
ant interview with Margaret Hayley took place in the parlor 
of the Crawford, Horace Townsend strolled into the billiard- 
saloon. Since the night before, in one particular direction, 
he had been decidedly ill-tempered, not to say ferocious ; and 
however he might have been softened for the moment by the 
encounter of the morning, in one respect that encounter had 
left him much more likely to assault the man who had calum- 
niated him so foully, than he could have been before a certain 
assurance had been given him on that occasion. Then the 
oificer's stare into his face, when leaving the room, had not 



THE COW A ED. i)Sl 

tended to remove any of his bile ; he did not believe, it is 
probable, that he would stand any the worse with the pecu- 
liarly constituted Margaret Hayley, in the event of an insult 
to the man who had insulted him coming to her knowledge ; 
and in short he had been all day prepared, at any time when 
he could do so with most effect, to repay him, interest in- 
cluded, in his own coin of ill-treatment. How soon or how 
effectually his opportunity was coming — the opportunity of all 
others for a stab in a vital part, — he had no idea when he en- 
tered the billiard-room. 

Several gentlemen were there, some playing and others 
Bmoking and in conversation. In one corner of the room, 
conversing with two or three others. Captain Hector Coles 
was giving a graphic account of the Battle of White Oak 
Swamp, in the retreat from the Peninsula, during one period 

of which, according to his account. General was wounded 

and all the field officers of a whole division cut up, so that he, 
though only on the staff and without positive command, was 
obliged to direct all the movements and eventually to head 
three different charges by which the enemy, four or five times 
superior in numbers in that part of the field, were finally re- 
pulsed with great slaughter. The story, as told, was a good 
one, and Captain Hector Coles played the part of Achilles in 
it to perfection, especially as there did not happen to be pres- 
ent (and there is strong reason to believe that he had assured 
himself of the fact in advance) a single officer who had shared 
in the Peninsular campaign. He was emphatically, just then, 
the hero of the hour, in that most assured of all points of 
view, a military one. It does not follow that Horace Town- 
send had been an actor in the Peninsular campaign, but he 
certainly arrogated to himself some knowledge of very small 
details that had taken place at Glendale, for he was guilty of 
the great rudeness of breaking in upon a conversation in 
which he was not included, with a question that served as a 
sort of pendant to the story of the Captain : 

" Let me see — it was in one of those charges, Captain, or 



382 T n K C W A R D . 

was it wliilc carrying some order, that you had tliat bad at- 
tack of giddiness in the head and were obliged to dismount 
and lie behind one of the brush-heaps in the swamp for an 
hour?" 

"Who the ." The Captain, who had not recognized 

the voice or seen the intruder, began to ask some question 
which he never finished, for he checked himself as suddenly 
as if he had been about committing a serious blunder. But 
he recovered himself very quickly, and pieced-out the remark 
so that it seemed very much as if he had pursued his original 
intention. 

" Who the are you, Horace Townsend as you call 

yourself, to put in your remarks when gentlemen are in con- 
versation ?" 

" Oh, I beg pardon, I did not know that you were ashamed 
of it. I happened to hear Colonel D relate the little cir- 
cumstance not long after the battle ; and I thought, from your 
leaving it out, that you might possibly have forgotten it." 

The gentlemen present stared from one to the other and 
said nothing. Such plain speaking w^as a novelty even 
among the excitements of mountain life. The Captain began 
by having si very white face, and ended with having a very 
red one. 

" Colonel D lied, if he said any thing of the kind !" he 

foamed. 

"I will tell him you say so, the next time I meet him," 
was the cool reply, " and you can try the little question of 
veracity between yourselves." 

"Xo, I -v^ll try it with youP^ the Captain almost shouted. 

" You are the liar — not Colonel D , and I will shoot you 

as I would a dog." 

" You will be obliged to do it by waylaying me, then," 
answered the lawyer. "Apart from any objection I may have 
to duels in the abstract, I certainly am not going out with a 
gentleman,''^ and he laid a terrible stress upon the word — "a 
gentleman who picks pockets." 



THE C O W A K 1) . 883 

" Gentlemen ! gentlemen !'' expostulated one or two at 
that period. 

'•Recall that word, or I will shoot you on the spot !" cried 
the Captain, his face now fiery as blood itself, and his hand 
moving up to his breast as if he really followed the cowardly 
practice of carrying a revolver there, while meeting in peace- 
ful society. If he had a weapon and momentarily intended 
to draw it, he desisted, however. 

•■' I will not recall the word, but I will explain it," answered 
the lawyer. " I heard you confess last night, Captain Hector 
Coles, in the midst of al)Out half an hour's falsehoods about 
my poor self, that you had picked my poc-ket of a handker- 
chief, the night before in the ten-pin alley. After that and 
the little indisposition at White-Oak Swamp, I think you will 
all agree with me, gentlemen, that I am under no obligations 
to afford that person any satisfaction." 

" Coward !" hissed the Captain. At the word a shiver 
seemed to go over the lawyer's frame, but he only replied : 

" Yes, that was what you called me last night ! Excuse 
me, gentlemen, for interrupting a very pretty little story, but 
I am going away and the Captain will no doubt continue it." 

He did go away, walking down towards the house, a little 
flushed in face but otherwise as composed as possible. Cap- 
tain Hector Coles did not tell out his story, for some reason 
or other ; and the moment after he too went away. 

" What the deuce is it all about ?" asked one of the gentle- 
men when they had both departed. 

" Haven't the least idea," said another. " Though, by the 
way, the Captain has a very pretty woman with him — I won- 
der if there should not be a lady at the bottom of the trouble, 
as usual ?" 

" Seemed to be some truth in that story*about getting giddy 
in the head, by the way it hit !" said a third. 

''Don't look much like cowards, either of them," said a 
fourth. "And, now that I think of it — -wasn't that the name 



384 T H K C u W A K D . 

— Townsend — of the fellow who leaped into the Pool the 
other day over at the Profile ?" 

" Don't know — shouldn't wonder — well, let them fight it 
out as they please — none of our business, I suppose I" re- 
joined one of the others ; and the party dispersed in their 
several directions. 

Such was the scene in the billiard room ; and it was not 
strange that more than a day after, no report of it had come 
to the ears of Margaret Ilayley or her mother, through the 
medium of any of the bye-standers ; for the persons most 
nearly interested are not those who first hear such revelations 
of gossip. That neither the Captain nor Horace Townsend 
should personally have spoken of it to Margaret is quite as 
natural, for reasons easily appreciated. That young lady, 
with two lovers more or less declared, was accordingly very 
much in the dark as to the peculiarly volcanic character of 
her admirers and the chances that at some early day they 
might fall to and finish each other up on the Kilkenny-cat 
principle, leaving her with none ! 



The third day after the ascent of Washington by our party 
witnessed its disruption in some important particulars. The 
morning stage down the Notch took away the Yanderlyns, 
on their way to Lake Winnipiseogee and thence to Xewport. 
They had been in the mountains little more than a week, but 
seen most of the points of interest at the Franconia and White 
Ketches ; and other engagements, previously formed, were 
hurrying them forward, as humanity in the Xew World is 
always hurried, whether engaged in a pleasure tour or a life 
labor. They left a vacancy behind them, and foretold the 
gradual flight of all those summer birds who had made the 
mountains musical, and the coming of those long and desolate 
winter months when the rooms then so alive with life and 
gayety should all be bare and empty, the snow lying piled in 
valley and on mountain peak so deeply that no foot of man 
might venture to tread them, and the wild northern blast 



THE COWARD. 885 

wailInG: tliroiiu-li tlie o-oj-nrps and around tlio doscrlod (Iwcll- 
iiii^s jis il" sounding a requiem for the Ille and love and Jiope 
iled away. 

They left a blank — all the three ; and yet how diftVrent was 
the vacauey eaused by each of the three departures ! Mrs. 
Yanderlyn, a lady in the highest fashionable aeeeptanee of 
the term, but so i)roud and stately that her better qualities 
were more than half hidden beneath the icy crust of conven- 
tionalism, — had dazzled much and charmed to a great degree, 
but won no regard that could not be supplied, after a time, 
by some other. Her son Frank, handsome and gifted but 
arrogimt beyond endurance, had won no friends wherever be 
moved, except such friends as money can mould from sub- 
servience ; and his going away left no regrets except in the 
breasts of the landlords whom he lavishingly patronized and 
the servants whom he subsidized after the true Southern 
fashion. But Clara Yanderlyn, who seemed to have fallen 
among the mountains with the softness, innocence and tender- 
ness of a snow-flake — Clara with her gentle smile, her sweet, 
low voice and wealth of auburn hair, — the friends sJte had 
formed from the rough ore of strangerhood and then from the 
half-minted gold of mere acquaintance, were to be numbered 
only by counting the inmates of the houses w^here she made 
her sojourn ; and therp was not one, unless the exception may 
have been found in some spiteful old maid who could not for- 
give her not being past forty, angular and ugly, or some man 
of repulsive manners and worse moral§ who had been intui- 
tively shunned by the pure, true-hearted young girl — not one 
but lifted up a kind thought half syllabled into bnjath, as they 
caught the last glimpse of the sunny head — " God bless her !" 

It is a rough, difficult world — a cold, hard world, in many 
regards. The brain is exalted at the expense of the hf^irt, 
and^cheming intellect counted as the superior of unsuspicious 
innocence and goodness. "Smart" — "keen" — "sharp" — 
these are the flattering adjectives to be applied even to the 
Bisters we love and the daughters we cherish, while in that 
24 



386 THE COWARD. 

one word " soft" lies a volume of depreciation. And of those 
educated with such a thought in view, are to be the mothers 
of our land if we have a land remaining to require the exist- 
ence of mothers. Is not a little leaven of unquestioning ten- 
derness necessary to season the cold, hard, crystallizing 
mass? Will womanhood still be that womanhood which has 
demanded and won our knightly devotion, when all that is 
reliant and yielding becomes crushed or schooled away and 
clear-eyed Artemis entirely usurps the realm once ruled by 
ox-eyed Juno ? Will there be any chivalry left, when she 
who once awoke the spirit of chivalry stands boldly out, half- 
unsexed, the equal of man in guile if not in bodily strength, 
and quite as capable of giving as of requiring protection ? 
And may we not thank God for the few Clara Yanderlyns of 
the age — the gentle, impulsive, unreasoning souls, who make 
the heart the altar upon which the first and b.est tribute of 
life is to be laid — who love too soon, perhaps, and too irre- 
vocably, but so escape that hard, cold mercantile calculation 
of the weight of a purse and the standing of a lover in 
fashionable society, upon which so many of their sisters 
worse wreck themselves than they could do by any imprudent 
love-match that did not bring absolute starvation within a 
twelvemonth ? 

This is something of a rhapsody, perhaps ; and let it be so. 
It flows out, unbidden, under the impulse of a gentle memory ; 
and sweet Clara Tanderlyn, Avhen she goes to her long n.'St, 
might have a worse epitaph carved upon the stone above her 
head, than the simple legend : " She lived to love." 

But if the going away of Clara Yanderlyn left a blank in 
the social circle at the Crawford, what must have been the 
effect produced by it upon Halstead llowan, the chivalrous and 
the impressible, with a heart as big as his splendid Western 
physique, who could have little prospect of ever meeting her 
again except under circumstances of worse disadvantage than 
had fought against him in the mountains, and who could en- 
tertain no more hope of ever wedding her without bringing 



THK COWARD. 887 

her painfully down from her position in society, than he could 
of plucking one of the stars harmlessly from its place in 
heaven ! 

The lllinoisan was not upon the piazza when the coach drove 
away. If any farewell had been made, it had been made 
briefly and hurriedly, where no eye but their own could see it. 
Horace Townsend thought of all that has been here set down, 
and looked around for Rowan at the moment of their de- 
parture ; but ho w^as invisible. The lawyer had himself a 
pleasant word of farewell and shake of the hand as she stepped 
to her seat in the coach, from the young girl whose dangerous 
perch upon the pinnacle of the mountains he was not likely 
soon to forget ; and then the door closed and she disappeared 
from his sight perhaps forever in life, leaving him thinking 
of the pleasant afternoon, so few days before, when he gazed 
for the first time upon her sweet face as they came up from 
Plymouth and Littleton, — and of the romance connected with 
her which had since been crowded into so brief a space. 

He saw nothing of Rowan for an hour after. Then he met 
him walking alone up the road north of the house, with his 
head bent down a little and something dim and misty about 
the eyes that even gave a suspicion of the late unmanliness 
(that is what the world calls it !) of t^ears. He raised his 
head as he recognized the lawyer, and held out his hand in a 
silence very unlike his usual bold, frank greeting. Townsend, 
who may all the while have had quite enough matters of his 
own to demand his whole attention, could not help pitying the 
subdued manner and the downcast look that sat so strangely 
upon the usually cheerful face. There had been nothing like 
it before, within his knowledge — not even on the night when 
he had been so foully insulted by Frank Yanderlyn at the 
Profile. 

The lawyer knew, intuitively, what must be the subject of 
conversation to which the mind of Rowan would turn, if his 
lips did not; and he felt c[uite enough in his confidence to 
humor him. 



S88 TUB COWARD. 

"I did not see you this morning-," he said. 

" When they went away ? — no !" was the answer. No fear 
that his listener could misunderstand who " they" were, and 
he did not display the cheap wit of pretending to do so. 

"You look down-hearted ! Come — that will never do for 
the mountains — especially for the boldest rider and the most 
dashing fellow that has ever stepped foot among them !" and 
he laid his hand somewhat heavily on the shoulder of the 
other, as if there might be power in the blow to rouse and 
exhilarate. It did indeed produce the effect of making him 
throw up his head to its usual erect position, but it was be- 
yond any physical power to lighten the dark shadow that lay 
upon his face. 

"You are a good fellow as well as a gentleman, Townsend," 
he said. "I wish /was a gentleman — one of the miserable 
dawdling things that know nothing else than small talk and 
the use of their heels. Then, and with plenty of money, I 
should know what to do." 

" And what icoidd you do ?" asked the lawyer. 

" Marry the woman I loved, in less than a month, or never 
speak to a woman again as long as I lived !" was the ener- 
getic reply. " As it is, I am a poor devil — only a railroad 
conductor ! What business have J, with neither money in 
ray pocket nor aristocratic blood in my veins, to think of a 
woman who has white hands and knows nothing of household 
drudgery ?" 

"A woman, however," said Townsend, "who could and 

would learn household drudgery, and do it, for the sake of the 

man she loved — well, there is no use in mincing the matter — 

for you, — and think it the happiest thing she ever did in all 

. her life !" 

" God bless her sweet face ! do you think so ? do you really 
believe that personally she likes me well enough to marry 
me if my circumstances were nearer her own ?" He had 
grasped Townsend by the hand with one of his own and by the 
arm with the other, with all the impetuosity of a school-boy; 



THE COWARD. 889 

but before the latter could answer be dropped the hand and 
the tone of inquiry, and said : " Pshaw ! What use in asking 
that question ? — I know she could be happier with me than 
with any other man in the world, and that makes the affair all 
the more painful." 

" Heigho 1" said the laywer, "you are not the only man in 
the world who does not see his way clearly in matrimonial 
affairs, and you must not be one of the first to mope." 

" I suppose not," replied the Illinoisan. *' But then you, 
with your wealth and education — you can know nothing of 
such a situation except by guess ; and so your sympathy is a 
little blind, after all." 

" Think so ?" asked Horace Townsend. " Humph I well, 
old boy, confidence for confidence, at least a little ! Look me 
in the face — do you see any thing like jest or trifling in it ?" 

"No, it is earnest, beyond a doubt." 

" Then listen for one moment. Halstead Rowan, I do not 
believe that there is any barrier between Clara Yanderlyn 
and yourself, that cannot be removed if you have the will to 
remove it. Now for myself. What would you think — " He 
stopped and seemed to consider for a moment, while the other 
watched him narrowly and with much interest. Then he 
went on : " You saw me meet — well, we will mention no 
names — the lady down at the house, the same night on which 
you chanced upon your own destiny." 

"Yes," answered the Illinoisan, 

"You thought, no doubt, that it was a first meeting. And 
so it was, on her part, for she had never before met Horace 
Townseud, to know him. But what would you think if I 
should tell you that I bad seen and loved her, many months 
before — that she was then engaged to be married to a very 
different person, though a man in the same profession — that 
I love her so madly as to make my life one long tortpre on 
her account — that I am throwing myself into her company, 
under circumstances that if she knew them would make her 
shrink away from me with loathing — and that such a barrier 



890 THB COWARD. 

exists between us that I have not much more hope of winning 
her than of bending down one of yon mountain peaks to kiss 
me, while I can no more avoid the trial than the drunkard 
can keep away from his glass or the madman escape his 
paroxysm !" 

" Is all that true ?" asked Rowan, who had been looking at 
the speaking face with still increasing wonder. 

" Every word of it, and more !" was the reply. / 

" Then my situation is nothing, and 1 have been whining 
like a school-boy before I was half whipped !" exclaimed the 
Illinoisan. The effect intended by the other had been pro- 
duced : he had been made to see that there could be even 
worse barriers between man and woman, than differences of 
family and fortune. And once teach any man that there is 
something worse that might have happened to him, than that 
which has indeed happened — much is achieved towards bring- 
ing him to resignation if not to content. 

"I have told you all this," said the lawyer, " partially be- 
cause I felt that I had no right to be acquainted with so much 
in your situation while you knew nothing of mine, and partially 
because I was really anxious to showyou that others than your- 
self sometimes find rocks in the bed of that pleasant stream 
which the poets call 'true love.' And now that I have gone 
so far, involving reputation as well as happiness, I know that 
you will do me the only favor I ask in return, and forget that 
I have said a word on the subject." 

" I have forgotten it already, so far as repeating it to any 
mortal man is concerned," replied the Illinoisan. He paused 
an instant, as his friend had done before, and then he added : 
" Meeting you has been the pleasantest — no, one of the pleas- 
antest incidents of my days among the mountains, and I am 
glad that you have made me feel so much nearer to your con- 
fidence at the moment of parting." 

"Parting? What, are you going away already ?" asked 
Townsend. 

"At once," answered Halstead Rowan. " I should think, 



THK CO WARD. 891 

tlioiip:h, that you would scarcely need to ask the question I 
My friends and myself are going to start back for Littleton 
immediately after dinner, and on to Montreal to-morrow. Do 
you think that I could sit at that table, as I feel just now, 
more than one meal longer, and think of- the vacant chairs? 
Ko — I am a baby, I suppose, and God knows whether I shall 
ever grow any older and wiser I" 

" God forbid that you ever should grow so old and so wise 
as to be able to master your heart altogether 1" said the lawyer. 
" I am sorry to part with you, for I too, have made a pleas- 
ant acquaintance. But you are right, no doubt. Try a little 
change of scene ; and you will be calmer next week, if not 
happier." 

They were now near the house, and walked on for a mo- 
ment in silence. Suddenly Rowan, catching up the last 
words at some distance, turned short around and said : 

" Townsend, I am going to change something besides scene 
^—life! I am going back into the army again, not for a frolic 
this time, but as a profession. OiBicers are gentlemen, are 
they not, even in fashionable society ? — and would not a pair 
of shoulder-straps make somebody even out of a railroad con- 
ductor ?" 

His tone was half badinage, but oh, what a sad earnest lay 
at the bottom of it ! His companion understood him too well 
to reply, and the conversation was not renewed. They parted 
at the piazza a moment after. Two or three hours later, after 
a long grasp of the hand which went far to prove that strong 
friendship between men has not become altogether a myth 
since the days of David and Jonathan, of Damon and Pythias, 
they parted at the same piazza once more and for a period 
that no human calculation could measure. Horace Townsend 
and Halstead Rowan were almost as certain never to meet 
again after that parting moment, as if one of the two had been 
already done with life and ticketed away with the dead 
Guelphs and Bourbons ! 



S92 THE COWARD. 



CHAPTER XIX. 
A Strange Character at Breakfast — " The Rambler" 

AND HIS AnTEGEIJENTS WUAT HORACE TOWNSEND HEARD 

ABOUT Fate — Going up to Pic-nic on Mount Willard — 
The Plateau, the Rope and the Swing — Spreading the 
Banquet — The Dinner-call and a Cry which answered 
IT — A Fearful Situation. 

At breakfast, the next morning after the departure of the 
Illinoisau, a somewhat strange character was called to the 
attention of the guests at the Crawford ; and a few of them, 
sitting near him, entered into conversation with him when 
they discovered the peculiar habits of life and mind which had 
for years made him an object of interest to visitors among the 
mountains. He had been absent southward of the range, in 
Pinkham Xotch, at Glen Ellis Falls and other wild localities 
lying north of Conway, for the preceding«!two or three weeks, 
only arriving the night before ; and very few of the persons 
then present at the Crawford had seen him except in half-for- 
gotten meetings in previous years. He called himself and 
was called by others who knew him (very few of whom, prob- 
ably, knew him by any other name) " The Rambler," and 
his habits of life were said to justify the appellation most com- 
pletely, as his appearance certainly accorded with the precon- 
ceived opinions of an itinerant hermit. 

He was a man evidently past fifty, with a face much wrinkled 
by time and roughened by exjxtsure — with a high forehead 
bald nearly to the apex of the head, long grizzled hair, rapidly 
ai)proaching to white, tumbled about in careless profusion, 
beard straggling and ungraceful and graying as fast as the 
hair, and something melancholy and unsettled in the eye 
which indicated that his wandering habits might have had an 
origin, many years before, in some loss or misfortune that 
made quiet a torture. In figure he was rather below than 



THE COWARD. 893 

above the middle height, with a certain wiriness in the limbs 
and a hard look in the bones and tendons of the hand, sug- 
gestive of unusual activity and an iron grip. 

But when they came to know more of him from the explana- 
tions of the servants and a little listening to his own conver- 
sation, those who on that occasion first met him had reason to 
confess that the Rambler needed all the iron nerve and hard 
endurance indicated by his physique. They believed him to 
be a man of nieajis, and he certainly spent money with free- 
dom if not with lavishness, the supply seeming to be as slight 
and yet as inexhaustible as that of the widow's cruse. He spent 
very little of it upon his own person, however : such a suit 
of coarse gray woollen as he wore that morning, with a slouched 
hat and strong brogan shoes, usually completing his outer equip- 
ment. Sometimes he carried a heavy cane, but milch oftener 
went armed with a stout staff of his own length, cut with 
ready hawks-bill jack-knife from a convenient oaken or hickory 
sapling and trimmed from its superabundance of knots by the 
same easily-managd^ substitute for a whole "kit" of carpeu- 
ters'-tools. 

This man, as it appeared, had never missed coming to the 
mountains for a single summer of the preceding fifteen years. 
Whence he came, no one knew ; and whither he went when 
his season was over (his season had very little to do with the 
fashionable one. in commencement or duration), was known 
quite as little. He might be looked for, they said, at the Pro- 
file, the Crawford, the Glen, the Alpine, the White Mountain 
or down in Pinkham Notch, at any time after they began to 
paint up and repair the houses for the reception of visitors, in 
early June ; and he might be expected to make his appear- 
ance at any or all of tliese places, any dny or no day, during 
the fall season and even up to the time when the last coach- 
load rolled away in Septemljer and the first snows began to 
sprinkle themselves on the brows of Washington and Lafayette. 
He never remained at any one of tlie houses more than a few 
hours at a time, carrying away from each a few sandwiches, a 



394: THH COWAKD. 

little dried tongue, some cheese and crackers in a small haver- 
sack, and sleeping nine nights out of ten in the open air, with 
no pillow but a stone or a log of wood, and his slouched hat. 
Most of the time he was alone on the tops of the most diffi- 
cult peaks or at the bottom of gorges where no foot but his 
own would be likely to tread ; or he was to be seen dodging 
across a path, stafif in hand and haversack on side, as a party 
was making some one of the ascents, — rather shunning any 
company then seeking it, and yet evidently neithe;' misan- 
thropic nor embarrassed when thrown into society and forced 
into conversation. Wherever he wished to go he went on 
foot, even when thirty or forty miles of rough mountain roads 
and paths were to be mearsured ; and no man, they averred, 
had ever seen him set foot over the side of a vehicle or recog- 
nize the right of the animal man to be drawn about from place 
to place by his brother animal the horse. 

So far the Rambler, according to the accounts given of him, 
was merely a harmless monomaniac — harmless even to himself, 
as all monomaniacs are not. But beyond^hat point, the ser- 
vants and some of the old habitues averred, came positive 
madness. He had been mad, since the first day of his com- 
ing to the mountains and perhaps long before, on the idea of 
climbing. Many had seen him go up to those peaks and 
down into those ravines before mentioned, and found as little 
disposition as ability to follow him. He seemed to climb 
without purpose, except his purpose might be the mere reck- 
less exposure of himself to danger at which every one except 
himself would draw back with a shudder. And that he did 
this without any motive outside of himself for the action — 
that he had no thought of awakening admiration by such ex- 
hibitions, — was evident from the fact that he was just as 
likely to make some ascent or descent of the most reckless 
fool-hardiness, when he did not know of the presence of any 
other person within possible sight, as when he had groups of 
horrified spectators ; and that loneliness was not a condition 
precedent to such an attempt, was just as evident from the 



TUB COWARD. 81^5 

fact that he never seemed to desist because one person or fifty 
came suddenly upon him and "caught him in the act." He 
seemed to live in a climbing world of his own, in which he 
was the only resident and all the others merely chance visi- 
tors who might or might not be in the way when he found it 
necessary to hang himself like a fly on the crags between 
heaven and earth. 

We are making no attempt whatever at analyzing the men- 
tality of this singular man, whom many will remember as 
having met him during some period of the last dozen years, 
at one or more of the Notches of the White Mountains. As 
well might the attempt be made to survey one of his own 
mountain tops or discover the superfices of one of the mighty 
masses of perpendicular rock that so often afforded him a 
footing at which the chamois would have given up in despair 
and Hervio Nano (that human "fly on the ceiling") writhed 
his boneless limbs in a shudder 1 We are only roughly da- 
guerreotyping the man as he appeared, preparatory to one 
terrible incident which made him an important character in 
this narration. Were any effort to be made at explaining his 
strange and apparently parposeless predilection, perhaps one 
word would come as near to furnishing the explanation as five 
hundred others — excitement. One man drinks liquors until 
he goes beyond himself; another invites to his brain the 
tempting demons of opium, hasheesh or nicotine ; another 
perils his prosperity and the very bread of his family at play ; 
still another plunges into pleasure so deeply that the draught 
is all the while maddening agony ; and yet another claps spur 
on heel and takes sword in hand and rides into the thick of 
the deadliest fight, without one motive of patriotism or one 
thought of duty: and all these are seeking that which will 
temporarily lift them above and beyond themselves (alas ! — 
that which will just as assuredly plunge them below them- 
selves, in reaction !) — excitement. Who knows that the poor 
Kambler, bankrupt in heart, hope and memory, had not tasted 
all the other maddening bowls and found them too weak to 



896 " THK COWARD. 

wean him from Iiis hour of suffering, so tliat when the fre- 
quent parox3-sm came he had no alternative l)ut to place him- 
self in some position where the hand and the foot could be- 
come masters of every thought and feeling, that the rude 
minstrelsy of deadly danger might thus charm away the 
black moment from his soul ! 

All this is mere speculation — the man may have been noth- 
ing more nor less than a maniac; and j^et his conversation, 
which was coherent and marked by entire propriety, did not 
create any such impression. 

No one who has made any study of the scenery of our North- 
ern Mountains fails to know that many of them (and alniost all 
the White Mountains that have full descent on either side to 
either of the Notches) in addition to the bald scarred brows of 
cliff that on one side or another seem like faces lifting them- 
selves in stern defiance to the storm, — have chased down 
them, from brow to foot, channels or " schutes" from which 
the torrent or the lightning has originally shorn away trees, 
herbage and at last earth, every year wearing them deeper 
and making more startling the contrast of the almost direct 
line of bluish gray cliff, seeming the very mockery of a path 
that no man can walk, with the green of the living grass 
and foliage and the white skeletons of the dead birches, that 
border them on either side. Perhaps no feature of the moun- 
tain scenery is more certain to awake a shudder, than such 
" schutes," as looked up to from below or down upon from 
above ; as the thought of a passage-way is inevitable, fol- 
lowed by the remembrance of the headlong fall of any man 
who should attempt a progress so nearly perpendicular, and 
that followed by the imagination that the gazer has really at- 
tempted it and is falling. Mount Webster and Mount "\Vil- 
lard, at the White Mountain Notch, are more marked than 
almost any of the others, by such features ; and certain terri- 
ble adventures along those "schutes" make part of the re- 
pertoires of guides and the boasting stories of old habitues. 
With one of those descending Mount Willard, and the points 



THE COWAKD. 397 

of sconorv immediately snrroundino; it, we shall have painful 
oecasiuu to make more intimate acquaintance in this imme- 
diate connection. 

These " schutes" and their topocrraphy were the subject of 
conversation at the breakfast-table that mornin<»:, not alone on 
account of the presence of the Rambler, which might have pro- 
voked it, but from the fact that a pic-nic on the top of Mount 
Willard, in the near vicinity of one of those tempting horrors, 
had been for some days in contemplation and the wagons were 
being prepared for going up and the cold food packing away 
in baskets and hampers at the very moment of that discus- 
sion. 

"You must know the mountains remarkably well," one of 
the gentlemen at the table was saying to the Rambler. 

" I ought to do so," was the reply. " There is scarcely a 
spot from Littleton to Winnipiscogee that my foot has not 
touched ; and I may almost say that there is not a spot whero 
I have not eaten or slept." He said this in a manner as far 
removed from any desire to make a display of himself as 
from any thing like modesty — merely as the fact, and there- 
fore a matter of course. 

"I heard you speaking of climbing the schutes a moment 
ago, but I did not quite catch what you said," spoke another. 
'' You certainly cannot hold on to the rocks alone, when they 
are so nearly perpendicular, can you ?" 

"Oh, no," answered the Rambler, "of course that would 
be impossible. I suppose I have a sure foot and a steady 
hand, and those schutes always have trees and shrubbery 
beside them, all the way down. It is no trouble to hold on 
to them — at least it is not so to w^." 

"Ugh !" said yet another — "rather you than me 1 Such 
exposures are terrible !" and he shuddered at the picture his 
imagination had been drawing. 

" They may be terrible, and I suppose that they are so, to 
some people," was the quiet reply. " Habit is every thing, 
no doubt. Some of you might walk into battle, if you have 



898 THB COWARD. 

been there before, a good deal more coollj than I eould do, 
even though you had a good deal more to sacrifice in life 
than myself in the event of a bullet goiug astray." 

'■' Bullets never go astray, nor do men fall down the rocks 
accidentally !" put in a breakfaster who wore a white neck- 
cloth but no mock-sanctimonious visage. " I am afraid, 
brothers, that you all forget the Overruling Hand which 
guides all things and prevents what thoughtless people call 
' accidents.'" 

" Ah !" said Horace Townsend. " Domine, do you carry 
fatalism, or predestination, if you like the word any better, — 
so far as to believe that every step of a man is supernaturally 
protected ?" 

" It is supernaturally ordered, beyond a doubt : it may be 
protected, or quite the opposite," was the minister's smiling 
reply. " And I might' go a step further and say that every 
man is supernaturally upheld, when doing a great duty, 
however dangerous, so that that result may follow, whether 
it come in life or death, in success or failure — which may be 
eventually best for him as well as best for the interests of 
heaven and earth, all men and all time." 

" A sublime thought, and one that may be worth calling to 
mind a good many times in life !" was all the reply that the 
lawyer made, and he took no further part in the conversation. 
He sat back in his chair, the moment after ; and Margaret 
Hayley (who had now become to some extent his " observer," 
as he had erewhile filled the same office to Halstead Rowan 
and Clara Yanderlyn) — Margaret Hayley, sitting at a con- 
siderable distance up the table on the opposite side, saw 
that his face seemed strangely moved, and that there was 
intense thought in the eye that looked straight forward and 
yet apparently gazed on vacancy. 

Meanwhile the Rambler had not yet ceased to be an object 
of interest ; and a little warning (such as he had undoubtedly 
heard a good many times during his strange life) was to 
follow the inquiries and the speculations. 



Tns COWARD. 899 

" Then you probably do not think, Domine," said one of 
the interlocutors in response to the remark which seemed to 
have struck Horace Townsend so forcibly, "that our friend 
here is under any especial supernatural protection when 
climbing up and down places where he has no errand what- 
ever except his own amusement." 

" I might think so, if I had the power to decide that he 
was really attempting no good whatever to himself or others," 
w^as the reply. " But as I cannot so decide, though I certainly 
think such exposures of life very imprudent, I shall be very 
careful not to express any such opinion." 

" Well, sir, I certainly wish you no harm," said another, "but 
if all accounts are true, I think that you expose yourself very 
recklessly, and I expect, some day, to hear that the pitcher 
you have carried once too often to the well is broken at 
last." 

" Perhaps so," said the Rambler, w^ithout one indication 
on his features that he was either frightened or moved by the 
sur^'-gestions. " I am long past the middle of life— my limbs 
are not quite so nimble as they once were — and if I do make 
a miss-step some time and get killed, I hope that they will 
allow me to lie peaceably where I fall !" 

After which strange wish the conversation went no further. 
Breakfast was just breaking up ; and a few moments after- 
wards some w^ho were standing on the piazza saw the 
Rambler stepping away down the road, haversack of bread, 
cheese, and meats strapped under his left arm, and his 
weather-beaten slouched hat thrown forward to shield his 
eyes from the morning sun that came streaming low and 
broad up the Notch. 

It was perhaps an hour afterwards when two wagons 
drew up at the door, ready to bear some score of the visitors 
up Mount Willard for the expected pic-nic. A third wagon 
had started ahead, bearing provisions enough to have sup- 
plied a small army — all to be wasted or made into perquisites 
for the servants by a frolic dictated a little by ennui and not 



400 THE COWARD. 

a little In' a love for any tliiiiir novel or merry. Two or 
tliree of liie young men staving at the house had been up 
Mount Willard a few days before, and on their return they 
had brought such flattering accounts of a magnificent broad, 
green plateau which they had discovered (how many times 
it had before been discovered is not stated) not far from 
the end of the carriage-road, on the southern brow of the 
mountain and overlooking the cascades and the edge of 
the DeviPs Den, — that the effect produced on the as 
yet untravelled people at the Crawford by the announce- 
ment was very much the same that we may suppose to have 
been manifested at the Court of Castile and Leon when 
Columbus came back with the Indians, the birds'-feathers and 
the big stories. The young men had signalized their own 
faith in the desirableness of the land as a place of permanent 
occupation, by possessing themselves of a small coil of inch 
rope, lying unused in one of the out-houses since the re-erec- 
tion of the Crawford (after the fire of the winter before), in 
1859, carting it in a wagon up the mountain and to the 
tempting plateau, and there using one end of it and a seat- 
board to make such a stupendous swing between two high 
trees that stood on one side of the green space, as had probably 
never been seen before in any locality where the clouds every 
morning tangled themselves among the branches. One of 
them had declared that he had the " highest old swing," in 
that " scup," ever taken by mortal, and a good many believed 
him. The swing, with its hundred feet or more of super- 
abundant rope, had remained as a permanence ; a few of the 
ladies at the house had been coaxed into going up Mount 
Willard especially to indulge in that "scupping" which 
ordinarily belonged to low lands and lazier watering-places ; 
and for two or three days before preparations and arrange- 
ments for a pic-nic had b^en in progress, destined to culmi- 
nate on that splendid cloudless morning of early August. 

So much premised, nothing more need be said than that all 
the few persons connected with this relation and yet remain- 



THE COWARD. 401 

ing at the Crawford, were members of the pic-nic party of 
twenty or tvveuty-flve, a pleasant mingling of both sexes 
but not of all the ages ; that Captain Hector Coles and 
Margaret Hayley went up especially in each other's company, 
as w-as both usual and proper ; that Mrs. Burton Hayley, 
getting ready to go on to the Glen and a little absorbed in 
one of the ministerial brethren whom she had found, did not 
ascend a mountain on any such vain and frivolous errand as 
a mere pic-nic ; that Horace Townsend rode up, in a different 
w^agon from that occupied by Margaret and her cavalier, and 
with no one in charge, or even in especial company — precisely 
as he had gone up Mount Washington ; that the party, in 
both wagons, was very merry and tuned to the highest possi- 
ble pitch of enjoyment ; that the usual jolts incidental to very 
bad mountain roads were periodically encountered, and the 
little screams and jerkings at protecting coats, ordinarily con- 
sequent thereupon, were evoked ; that a few magnificent views 
down the Notch and among the sea of peaks were enjoyed, 
with a few contretemps among the riders adding zest thereto ; 
that nearly every one would have been willing to make oath 
that they had been "all but upset down the mountain" 
several times, when they had not really been even once in that 
threatening predicament; and that after something more than 
an hour of riding they found themselves and their pic-nic 
preparations at the end of the carriage-road and very near 
the diminutive promised land which they had been invited 
and enticed to come up and occupy. 

It was indeed, as those who had never before visited the 
place found upon reaching it through, a little clump of 
trees and bushes beyond the termination of the road — a 
spot well worthy the attention of any visitor to the iS'ot(;h. 
Nothing else like it, probably, could have been found in tln^ 
whole chain of the White Mountains, following them from tiio 
head waters of the Androscoggin to the mouth of the Penii- 
gawasset. For the purposes of this veracious narration it 
becomes necessary to describe f^ome of the features of the spot 
25 



402 THE COWARD. 

more closely than they would demand under ordinary circum- 
stances ; and the reader may find it equally necessary to make 
close application of the details of description, in order fully to 
appreciate that which must inevitably follow, beyond the con- 
trol of either reader or writer. 

At some day, no doubt many a long year before, whether 
caused by the melting of the snows at the top of the mountain 
or by some one of those internal convulsions which the earth 
seems to share with the human atom who inhabits it, — there 
had been a heavy " slide" from near the peak on the south- 
south-western side, coming down perhaps a quarter of a 
mile before earth and stone met with any check. Then the 
check had been sudden and severe, from some obstruction 
below, and as a consequence the slide had gone no farther 
downward but spread itself into a broad plateau of fifty or 
sixty feet by one hundred, nearly level though with a slight 
inclination downward towards the edge. There had chanced 
to be but few rocks at the top of this mass of earth, and the 
southern exposure and shelter from the north winds had no 
doubt tended to warm and fertilize it, so that while much of 
the top of the mountain was bald, scarred and bare, and all 
the remainder covered with wild, rough forest — this little 
plateau had reall}' grown to be covered with grassy sward, 
of no particular luxuriance but quite a marvel at that bleak 
height. Behind it, upward, the mountain rose gradually 
towards the peak, seen through a younger growth of trees that 
had found their origin since the catastrophe which swept away 
all their predecessors. On both sides the thick tangled woods 
closed down heavily, leaving no view in either direction, ex- 
cept through their swaying branches ; while in the direction 
of the slide itself, no tree intervening between the plateau and 
its edge, one of the most beautiful perspectives of the whole 
mountain range spread itself out to the admiring gaze. 

Looking close as possible down the side of Mount AVillard, 
at that point, the trees and undergrowth of the gorge below, 
some fifteen hundred or two thousand feet away, could be 



THE COWARD. 403 

discerned, through tliat slip^ht bine haze which marks distance 
and faintly suergests the great depth of the sky. Lifting the 
eye, it swept south-westward and took in a terribly rough 
range of \vooded hills and minor mountain peaks, with a l)road 
intervale lying between, through which glittered and flashed 
the little stream with its white cascades which gave name to 
the spot, hurrying down in foam and fury to join the Saco in 
the broad valley below. Further westw-ard and at still greater 
distance rose the mountains lying behind Bethlehem, with the 
top of Lafayette, of the Franconia range, rising yet higher 
and beyond all, touched wath the warm light of the noonday 
sun and supplying a perfect finish to w^hat was truly an en- 
chanting picture. 

But at the edge of the plateau itself lay that which must 
command the most special notice in this connection. Whether 
formed before the slide or consequent upon it, one of the most 
precipitous of all the " schutes" of the mountains had its start 
at the v«ry centre. It had worn away the earth of the plateau 
in the middle, until it reduced it nearly to the stone of the 
first formation ; while at the side of the narrow trough thus 
formed, thick trees and undergrowth clustered as far down as 
the eye could extend, with one sharp bend outward at the 
right, and striking out still beyond that, the massive roots of 
a fallen tree, of which the trunk lay buried in the earth and 
covered W'ith undergrowth, w^hile one long thorn or fang of 
the root hung half way across the chasm and suggested that 
there of all places, above the dizzy depth beneath, one of those 
eagles should sit screaming, that are supposed ever to have 
kept position on some such outpost, shouting hoarse rage and 
defiance through far aw^ay and desolate Glencoe, ever since the 
massacre of the Macdonalds. Still below this and almost 
touching the stony bottom of the trough of the schute, another 
and much smaller fang of root extended, the broad bulk of 
the side-roots forming a close wall between the two branches 
and the hedge of undergrowth, almost as impervious to the 
hand of man and as unfavorable for any purpose of clinging, 



404 THK COWARD. 

as the sloping stone itself. It was a dizzy thing to look down 
— that schute, as some of the strouger-sexed, clearer-headed 
and surer-footed of the pic-nic party found by venturing near 
the edge, and as they did not feel it necessary to reassure 
themselves by any second examination. 

The baskets and hampers had been brought'over from the 
baggage-wagon, at the same time that the party themselves 
made their arrival. Why it is that people who go out upon 
pic-nics, in any part of the country or indeed in any part of 
the globe, with high expectations of much enjoyment which 
is to be found in other modes than the use of the masticative 
apparatus, — why it is, we say, that all such persons, even 
though they may have eaten heartily not two. hours before, 
become ravenously hungry the very moment they reach the 
ground designated and are good for nothing thereafter until 
they have rendered themselves helpless by over-eating,-^why 
all this is, we say once more, passes human understanding; 
but the fact remains not the less patent. Let any frequenter 
of pic-nics think backward and try whether he or she can re- 
member any instance to the contrary, — and whether the con- 
elusion has not been more than once arrived at, in his or her 
particular mind, that the true aim and object of the pic-nic, 
as an institution, is to enjoy the eating of a bad dinner away 
from the ordinary table instead of a good one properly spread 
upon it. 

The party on Mount Willard was mortal, and they bowed 
at once to this unaccountable W'eakness of mortality. Five 
minutes of inspecting the ground and viewing the scenery ; 
and then, while the more selfish members of the company or 
those who had eaten heartier breakfasts, flirted, strolled, or 
indulged in the doubtful pleasures of the swing (which hung 
between two tall trees at the left of the plateau, with a loose 
hundred feet of rope at the root of one), the less selfish or the 
more hungry applied themselves to spreading out on the dry 
sward the half dozen of cloths that had been brought up from 
the hotel, and to laying out upon it, in various stages and 



TUB COWARD. 405 

phases of damac:e and disarrangement, eatables which had 
been appetizing enough when they left the Crawford, but of 
which, now, they would have been seriously puzzled to sepa- 
rate the fish from the farina or the maccaroni from the mustard. 

The helpful ladies and their male assistants had just suc- 
ceeded in producing that amount of confusion among the 
articles on the spread table-cloths which was supposed to repre- 
sent arranging the lunch, — and the call for volunteers to dis- 
arrange it more effectually with forks and fingers was about 
to be made, — when one of the gentlemen looked up suddenly 
as a shadow passed him. 

" Our friend the Rambler," he said as the other, with a 
slight nod, recognized his notice and passed on down the 
plateau towards the thicket at the north-western edge. 

" Why yes," said one of the ladies. " He walked and we 
rode, and yet he seems to have been up before us, for he is 
coming down from the farthest side of the mountain." 

" Shall I call him and ask him to take a share in our din- 
ner ?" asked one of the male stewards. 

** No, it would be useless : the Rambler, they say, gener- 
ally chooses his own society, and he probably would not even 
thank us for the invitation," answered another. The strange 
man had by that time passed into the thicket bordering the 
edge of the schute at the right, and was seen no longer. 
Some of the pic-nickers noticed, as he passed, that he had no 
stick in his hands and that his almost invariable companion, 
the haversack, was missing from his side. But there seemed 
to be no occasion of commenting on so slight a matter, and 
nothing was said with reference to it. 

It must be confessed that among those who had not con- 
tributed in any way to the spreading of thq miscellaneous 
dinner upon the ground, were two persons in whom this 
narration maintains a peculiar interest — Horace Townsend, 
lawyer, and Margaret Hayley, gentlewoman. The lady had 
been among the early visitors to the swing ; and at the time 
of the disappearance of the "Rambler into the thicket at the 



406 THB COWARD. 

edge of the schute, she was being swept backward and for- 
ward in the air by that dizzying contrivance, at a rate which 
sent her loosened wealth of dark hair and her light summer 
drapery floating about in equal negligence and profusion, 
while the dainty white hands held fast to the rope with a ten- 
acity which showed them to possess a commendable degree 
of nerve, and the trim dark gaiter enclosing her Arab foot, 
and the spotless stocking that rose above it, had both just 
that measure of display which preserved the extremest bound 
of delicacy and yet made the whole spectacle strangely be- 
witching. Perhaps the extraordinary light in her eye as she 
swung may have been a little influenced by one of the two pairs 
of hands that supplied the careful impelling force ; for those 
hands certainly belonged to the lawyer, who had been a mem- 
ber of the idle section from the beginning, while she had wil- 
fully attached herself to it in spite of the expostulations of the 
Captain. That gallant officer, by the way, had been retained 
among the dinner-purveyors by the wiles and the threats of a 
little dark-eyed minx from Providence, who cared no more 
for him than she did for her shoe-lace, but who would flirt 
with him and make him flirt with her, because she saw that he 
was arrogant, shoulder-strapped, and very much afraid of being 
seen for a moment absent from the side of Margaret Hay- 
ley. The Captain, who was not quite fool enough to believe 
that he had really made a military conquest of the young 
Yankee girl, probably objurgated her in his heart for her charm- 
ing impudence ; while Margaret, more gratified by the relief 
than she cared to make manifest, may have made private cal- 
culations of hugging that dear little tormentor the first mo- 
ment when she could catch her alone. 

Such was the aspect of affairs — the young girl in the swing, 
Townsend and another gentleman swinging her, half a dozen 
merry young men and girls gathered around the trees or lying 
lazily on the grass, and the other and more industrious half- 
score kneeling and bending and squatting around the table- 
cloths at U. C. of the plateau, — when the arrangements (or 



THK COWAKD. 407 

mis-arrangements) were judged to be complete and one of the 
male members of the workinjr-detail, a little hungry and dis- 
posed to be more than a little witty, made up one hand into 
the shape of a trumpet and bawled through it : 

" Oh yes, — oh yes I — know all men and several women by 
these presents that the regal banquet is spread and that those 
who intend to eat are required to eat now or ever after hold 
their pieces — if they can find any to hold !" 

A merry farce — the very incarnation of thoughtless jollity,— 
the dinner and the announcement. It rung out over the pla- 
teau, heard by all and certain to be heeded by all ; to be suc- 
ceeded the very instant after by a sound that no member of 
that company will ever forget until his dying day. A scream 
of mortal agony and terror that seemed to rise from the depths 
of the schute, nondescript in some respects, as unlike what 
any one then present had ever heard, but unmistakably 
human because the last sounds of every repetition shaped 
themselves into words that could be distinguished : 

" Help !— help I— help !" 

For one moment that fearful cry ceased and during that mo- 
ment all was silence among the pic-nickers. For that instant, too, 
probably more than half the company believed that whatever 
the sound might be, it was the prank of some unscrupulous 
joker, hidden away in the undergrowth near the edge of the 
schute and intended to frighten the ladies out of any appetite 
for their dinner. The time of its coming, immediately follow- 
ing the dinner-call, was certainly favorable to that supposi- 
tion: But when it commenced again, the very instant after, 
louder and more shrill, so evidently coming up from the depth V 
below, the thought of practical jest vanished and every cheek 
grew deadly white with the certainty that some tragedy was 
being enacted near them, that human eye must be blasted by 
seeing and that human hand could probably find no power to 
avert. 

It would have seemed the most unlikely of all things, when 
that ambiguous banquet on the top of the mountain was 



408 THE COWARD. 

spread, tliat it sboulrl never be oaten ; and jet the fates had 
so destined. Old Anca3us had quite as little faith in the pre- 
diction of the slave whom he overworked in his vine3'ard, that 
he should never taste of the product of the vines ; and when 
he held the cup in his hand and the red wine was bubbling to 
the brim, ready to show the audacious prophet the fallacy of 
his prediction, the muttered : " There's many a slip between 
the cup and the lip !" no doubt fell upon incredulous ears. 
But even then the cry rang out that called him to the Hunt 
of the Calydonian Boar, and the spirit of the warrior was 
higher than the pride of the wine-grower and the hard master. 
The heavy cup went clanging to the earth, the blood of the 
grape flowing out to enrich once more the ground from which 
it had been derived ; and the t3'rant hero rushed away. The 
slaves had a new master, thereafter ; and though Ancaeua 
may have supped with the gods on Olympus, on the night 
when the great fight w^as over, he never tasted of that wine 
of his vineyard which had once even been lifted to his lips ! 
So tasted not the diners on that mountain in a far distant 
land from that which held Olympus, even when the feast was 
spread and the call had been made for their gathering. 

It is impossible to say what point of time elapsed before 
any member of that horrified company remembered the 
Rambler, his habits, the conversation of that morning, and 
the fact that he had only a few moments before been seea 
going in the direction from which that piteous cry w^as 
coming up. It is impossible to measure it, for at such 
moments ages of sensation pass in the very twinkling of aa 
eye. Some of them did remember him, with a groan, and 
perhaps the thought was general. At all events the conster- 
nation was so-r— as general as if some one who had come 
away from the Crawford with them in life and high hope, had 
suddenly been stricken dead before their eyes. Margaret 
Hayley, with the frightened cry which even then shaped a 
feeling : " Oh, Mr. Townsend, what can that be !" dropped 
from the swing and was caught in arms outstretched to re- 



THE COWARD. 409 

coive hor. By that time all seated around the table-oloths 
had sprung to their feet; and at once every member of 
the party, male and female, impelled by a curiosity that even 
overmastered fear, rushed down the plateau towards the edge, 
as if some horrible madness had seized all and they were about 
to spring off into the great chasm below. But before they 
had reached the edge all the ladies except two and several 
of the gentlemen recoiled ; and it was only by degrees and 
under the compelling attraction of that still ascending cry, 
that some of those remaining could force themselves to the 
verge. Those who reached it at that moment, and those who 
closed up the instant after, saw enough to make Blondin and 
his brother-fools a non-necessity for the balance of their 
natural lives ; and the cry from below was answered, be sure, 
by a cry that rang from every voice above when the sad spec- 
tacle met the eye. 

It was indeed the subject of their past fear who supplied 
their present horror ; and the situation, keeping in view 
previous descriptions of the locality, may be briefly conveyed. 

It will be remembered that at the bend or elbow of the 
gulch, some thirty feet below, two fangs of the root of a tree 
stretched out partially across the chasm, the upper long and 
at some distance from the rock of thebottom, the other shorter 
and lying very near it. It will also be remembered that 
beneath both the schute stretched its long blue jagged line 
to the foot of the mountain, not less than fifteen hundred or 
two thousand feet, with the air between the top and bottom 
looking actually blue from distance,— and that the schute 
itself was so nearly perpendicular that while any object falling 
down it would probably touch it all the way from top to 
bottom, it would go down almost with the velocity of the 
lightning and be rolled and pounded to a mere ball before it 
had accomplished half of the descent. 

On that lower fang of the root hung the Rambler — those 
who had seen him at the Crawford recognized him at once, 
at that short distance ; and it was indeed from that throat 



410 THS COWARD. 

SO little accustomed to call for assistance from any mortal 
hand, that the terrible cries of agony and appeals for help 
were ascending. One hand grasped the root near the end, 
without being able to go nearly round it, and one leg was 
caught round the root farther towards the tree, with the bend 
at the knee forming a kind of hook so long as it could retain 
its tension. The other arm and leg hung down, with the 
body, below, and the long grizzled hair streamed away from 
the head that depended downward in the direction towards 
which it seemed to be so fatally tending. The face could be 
seen, as that was turned towards the cliff, but its expression 
could not be recognized at that distance and in the reversed 
position that it occupied. All that could be known, to any 
certainty, was that there hung a human being, evidently 
unable even to recover a safer hold upon the root, screaming 
for help that was hopeless, and as certain to make the last 
plunge within a space of time that could be measured by 
single minutes, or perhaps even by seconds, as the sun was 
certain to move on in its course and the earth to retain its laws 
of gravitation I 

Was there not cause, indeed, for that general cry of pitying 
horror from above, which answered the cry of agony and 
terror from below ? 



CHAPTER XX. 

Suspense in Danger, in two Senses — Horace Townsend 
WITH A New Thought — The use of a Swing-rope — An 
Invitation to Captain Hector Coles — A fearful piece 
OF Amateur Gymnastics — Going down into the Schute 
. — Success or Failure ? — The Event, and Margaret 
Hayley's Madness — Two Unfortunate Declarations. 

We have said that the whole body of the pic-nickers 
rushed up to the edge of the plateau, and that all, or nearly 



THE COWARD. 411 

all, caught glimpses of the situation. Then came that cry, 
that shutting of the eyes and springing back, until only throe 
or four, of whom Horace Townsend was one and Captain 
Hector Coles was not another, remained on the verge. Mar- 
garet Hayley, among those who had gazed down and drawn 
back, remained a few feet from the edge, and the Captain was 
either so careful of her safety or so anxious to furnish himself 
with an excuse for remaining no nearer, that he caught her by 
the dress and retained his grip as if she had been some bundle 
of quartermaster's goods that he was fearful of having slip 
through his fingers I Frightened inquiries and equally 
frightened replies, mingled with moans and sobs and wring- 
ings of female hands, went round the circle thus scattered 
over the lower part of the plateau ; and for a moment those 
noises made the still-ascending cries for help almost inaudible. 
Horace Townsend stood at the very edge, and except per- 
haps sharing in the first cry, he had not uttered one word. 
He no doubt understood, intuitively, like the rest, that the 
poor man must have been attempting the mad descent, when 
the undergrowth by which he held fast gave way in his 
hands, or some stone caved out beneath him, sending him 
headlong downward for a plunge of two thousand feet, from 
which he had only been temporarily stopped by striking and 
gripping the root of the tree as he fell. Beyond this, and 
with reference to any possibility of saving the perilled man, 
he was probably quite as much in the dark as any of the 
others. He stood half bent, his dusky cheek pale and his 
face strangely contorted, his hands clasped low as if wring- 
ing themselves surreptitiously, and the eyes beneath his bent 
brow looking into the gulf as if he was trying to peer down- 
ward into the eternal mystery which that man was so soon 
to fathom. 

Suddenly his face lighted. '' Hush ! I must speak to that 
man !" he said, in a low but intense voice, and the behest 
was obeyed so quickly that almost total silence fell upon the 
top of the plateau. 



412 THE COWARD. 

" Hallo, below there !" he cried, as the call of agonj ceased 
for an instaut. 

" Uelp ! help ! oh help !" came back from below. 

" Do you understand what I say ?" again he called. 

** Yes ! — help ! help !" came feebly back. 

" Get that rope from the foot of the swing there, quick, 
some of you !" he cried, and his voice seemed for the time to 
clear from its hoarseness and ring like a trumpet. " Quick ' 
— cut it away at the bottom and bring it all here !" 

Half a dozen of the young men and one or two of the 
ladies, delighted to aid in any hope of saving the perilled 
man (for the most thoughtless of us are naturally, after all, 
kind and averse to death and suffering), sprung for the rope. 
Two of them reached the foot of the swing ahead of the others, 
the pocket-knife of one was out in an instant, and in another 
UDoment they came up dragging nearly or quite an hundred 
feet of strong inch rope. 

"We have a rope here that will hold you : can you catch 
it and hold on or tie it around your body ?" the lawyer called 
down again. 

" Xo !" — the pained and weakening voice came back, and 
then they all knew wiiat had reduced that athletic and iron- 
gripped man to such a state that he could make no effort to 
swing himself up again. He spoke brokenly and feebly, but 
Horace Townsend and some of the others caught the words : 
" I can't catch the rope — I put my right shoulder out of joint 
as I fell — I can't hold on much longer — I shall faint with this 
pain — oh, can't some of you help me ?" 

Then passed over the countenance of Horace Townsend 
one of those sweeping expressions which make humanity 
something more or less than human. It may have been the 
god stirring — it may have been the demon. No one saw it — 
not even Margaret Hayley ; for when he turned nothing more 
was to be seen than that the brow was very dark, and that 
the lips were set grimly. The powers looking downward 
from heaven ou the falling of leaves and the nesting of young 



T H S COWARD. 41$ 

birds may have remarked tlie whole expression and set it 
down at its true worth, and that will eventually be found 
quite sufficient. Before he turned he shouted, much louder 
and more authoritatively than he had spoken before, to the 
man han^^inj^ between life and death below : 

" Hold on, like a man I We will do something to help 
you !" 

Then he spoke to the two young men, one of whom yet 
held the end of the rope : 

" Tie a biy; loop in that rope, quick — ten or a dozen feet 
from the end." 

They proceeded to do so, with not unskilful hands, and in 
that instant the lawyer approached Captain Hector Coles, 
where he stood, only a few feet off, still holding the dress of 
Margaret Hayley. He did not 'appear to see her at all, but 
she saw him, and there was that upon his face which 
frightened her so that she literally gasped. 

" Captain Coles !" he said, " do you know what you said of 
me the other night and again the other day ? There is a 
rope, and there is yet a chance to save that man. Go down, 
if you are as brave as you boast, and save him. Do you 
hear me ? — go I" 

" I ? Humph !" That was all the reply that the Captain, 
half-stupefied, could make to what he believed to be the words 
of a madman. 

"Xo, I thought not I" sneered the voice through the hard 
lips. With the words coat and vest were thrown ofif, and the 
tall, slight, athletic form was developed with no concealment 
but the shirt and the closelyrgirt trowsers. The shoes 
followed, and as they did so Margaret Hayley well remem- 
bered where and when she had before seen that disrob- 
ing. She had grown white as the collar and cuffs of her 
gray chambray ; and she was so paralyzed with wonder, 
fear, anxiety, and conflicting thought, that she could not 
speak, and was on the point of falling. Yet all this time 
Horace Townsend seemed to pay her no more attention or 



414 THK COWARD. 

observation than he might have done had she been a wooden 
post or a stone monument erected at the same point of the 
plateau ! 

]S"ot sixty seconds had elapsed after the throwing oflf of his 
outer garments, when the lawyer, without another word to 
any one, seized the rope, looked over the edge to see that the 
Rambler was still hanging to his thorn, lowered down the 
line until the loop was nearly opposite to him, then carried 
up the other end and with the volunteered assistance of one 
of the young men firmly secured it with two or three turns 
and as many knots, around the trunk of a stout sapling. 

All saw the movement, now, and all began to understand 
it ; but oh, with what redoubled agitation was the truth 
realized ! He was going down that frail rope, and into what 
peril ! The rope fastened, he stepped forward to the verge, 
while a murmur ran round the frightened group, even coming 
from the lips of those who had never spoken to him : " Oh, 
don't !" Margaret Hayley was no longer stone : she cast 
one glance at the face of Captain Hector Coles, saw that the 
expression on it was every thing rather than fear or anxiety, 
then jerked away her dress from his hand and darted forward. 

<' ]S"o — do not go!" she said, grasping the lawyer by the 
arm on the very verge. 

" I must!" Then for the first time he appeared to see her. 

*' No 1 If I bid you stay for my sake, will you do it ?" 

" For your sake, Margaret Hayley, I would go all the 
quicker. Stand back, for God's sake ! — you may fall 1" 

She said no other word. Captain Hector Coles sprang 
forward and grasped her arm to draw her back. She jerked 
it away, almost angrily, and never stirred so far from the edge 
as to prevent her looking down the schute. Half a dozen of 
the others, all gentlemen, had taken the same risk of crowding 
to the edge, their very breath held ; but none of them would 
any more have thought, just then, of offering to aid her, than 
of tendering the same support to one of the rooted saplings 
on the cliff. It was a fearful moment, but not the weakest 



THE COWARD. 415 

heart on that plateau beat within the bosom of the white- 
handed Philadelphia girl 1 

Horace Townsend threw himself down on his face as he 
reached the edge, grasped the rope and crawled over back- 
wards in that way, descending it hand-over-hand. Those too 
far back from the edge to see, heard him call out to the man 
below as he disappeared from sight : " Uold fast like a man ! 
I am coming 1" Then they saw no more, and for the moment 
heard no more. 

Those who stood on the verge, and Margaret Hayley 
among them— saw the adventurous lawyer descend the rope 
with slow and steady care but evident labor, until he reached 
the loop opposite and nearly under 'the suspended man. 
Then they saw him weave his right arm into the loop until 
the strands of rope seemed to go around it three or four times, 
throw down his feet to the rock so as to raise his shoulders 
away from it, and commence gathering in the loose rope be- 
low with his left. Directly he seemed to have the end in his 
hand, and they saw him stretch the left arm as if to throw it 
around the body of the perilled man. At that moment they 
saw, with a horror that words can make no attempt at 
describing, that the hand of the Rambler which had held the 
end of the root gave way and the body swung to a perpen- 
dicular, head downward, only suspended by the hook formed 
of the leg. All, except one— that one— closed their eyes, 
confident that the leg too must give way and the poor climber 
plunge headlong, perhaps bearing down the would-be rescuer 
with him. But no ! — still the body remained in that position 
for a moment, and in that moment they saw that the rope 
passed around it and the hand of the lawyer made an attempt, 
the success of which could not be seen, to tie the rope into a 
knot about the waist. But even at that instant the tension 
of the stiffened leg gave way and they saw the body plunge 
downwards, head first ; ichere, was too sickening a horror to 
conjecture. 

Ko one saw any more—not even Margaret Hayley. With 



416 THE COWARD. 

one wild cry she sprang back from the verge and tottered 
half fainting but still erect, into the arms of some of the other 
ladies who had been watching the whole scene through her. 

Perfect silence — the silence of untold terror and dread. 
Their own eyes had seen the Rambler plunge headh^ng 
towards the realization of that fearful last wish : what hope 
was there that the other, entangled with him, had not accom- 
panied him ? It must be said that for the moment no one 
dared look over the edge again, and that no one dared, during 
the same time, to test, by feeling the rope, whether any weight 
still remained at the end of it ! The cast-oflf coat, vest, bat 
and shoes of the lawyer assumed the look of dead-men's 
clothes unseasonably exhibited ; and each even looked upon 
the other with horror because a spectator of the same catas- 
trophe. What must have been the feelings of Margaret 
Hayley, if, as we have had reason to believe, her first love 
had faltered in favor of a new ideal ? What those of Captain 
Hector Coles when he believed that a disgusting and auda- 
cious rivalry had been removed at least two thousand feet"} 

All this found relief when it had lasted about ten ages — in 
other figures, about two minutes and thirty seconds 1 The 
rope was seen to tremble at the edge, and two or three of the 
men gathered strength to dart forward. A head came up 
above the level, and a faint voice said : 

" Give me a hand, here !" 

A hand was given, and in one instant more the lawyer was 
dragged up upon the plateau and staggered to his feet. He 
was bathed in sweat, trembled fearfully, and his clothes were 
torn in many places. Personally he had received no injury, 
except that some hard object (perhaps one of the snags of the 
root) had struck him near the left temple and ploughed its 
way in such a manner that the wound would probably leave 
a scar there during life, more than half way across the fore- 
head and up into the roots of the hair. Even this was shallow 
and the few drops of blood flowing from it were already dried, 
80 that probably the receiver had never been aware of the 



THE COWARD. 417 

blow or its effect. Most of those things were seen afterwards 

they were certainly not seen with this particularity at the 

time, for not one of the persons on the plateau, from Captain 
Hector Coles to the least interested of the company, saw any 
thing: else than the proud face of Margaret Ilayley radiant with 
humility, and her tall form cowering down as if to make itself 
humbler and less noticeable, as she dropped on her knees 
before the lawyer — yes, dropped on her knees ! — took one 
of the quivering hands in both her own dainty white ones, 
covered it with kisses that some others would have been glad 
to purchase for hand or lip by mortgaging a soul, and literally 
sobbed out : 

" God bless and reward you ! — you noblest and strangest 
man in the world 1" 
- It was a singular position for a proud and beautiful woman 

was it not ? — especially towards a man whose words had 

never given her any right to make so complete a surrender of 
her womanly reticence and dignity ? Captain Hector Coles 
thought so, for he could restrain himself no longer but stepped 
to her, laid his hand upon her arm and spoke in her ear : 

" For shame, Margaret Hayley !" 

Perhaps no one else heard the words : she heard them, for 
she was on her feet in an instant, and the one word which she 
returned, in the very ear of the Captain and certainly unheard 
by any other, made him start back and redden like one of the 
traditional furies. He said no more, but stood sullen as silent. 
Whether Horace Townsend had not heard the flattering lan- 
guage addressed to him, or whether he had not yet recovered 
himself sufficiently from his late exertion to attempt reply, he 
made none, but seemed confused and unnerved. He did not 
recover until some one near him said : 

" Poor fellow ! — you lost him after all !" 

" Lost him ? no !" said the lawyer, arousing himself. " I 
forgot! He is insensible but not fatally injured. Pray pull 
up the rope, gently, for I believe that I am too weak to render 
you any assistance." 
20 



418 THE COWARD. 

" What I" cried two or three voices in a breath, and more 
than as many hands seized the rope. It waB drawn tight — 
there was something yet remaining below. As the knowledge 
spread among the company and they began to pull on the 
rope, such an involuntary cheer burst from nearly all their 
throats^ male and female, as might have roused a man moder- 
ately insensible. But they produced no effect on the dead 
weight at the end of the line ; and it was only after more than 
five minutes of severe but careful pulling, with every breath 
waiting in hushed expectation lest some sharp angle of the 
rock might at last cut off or weaken the rope, that a dark 
mass came up to the edge and the insensible form of the 
Rambler was landed upon the plateau by the hands that 
grasped it. 

He might have been dead, for all that could be judged, 
though there was really no reason to believe that he should 
have expired from any cause except fright. But he presented 
a most pitiful spectacle — his clothes fearfully torn by abrasion 
against the rocks in drawing up, the right arm hanging loosely 
from the shoulder, the ej^es closed and teeth set as in a fatal 
spasm, and the iron-gray hair and straggling beard matted 
with blood yet flowing from a severe wound in the head that 
he had received either in falling against the rock from the 
root or in the perilous passage upward. There was no in- 
dication of breath, but he was alive, for the pulse had not 
stopped its slow movement, and there was at least a chance 
that he could be recovered. 

But even then, and while two or three were hurrying to the 
table for water to use in bringing back the flitting life and 
some of the cloths to use as a stretcher in bearing the body 
to one of the wagons, — even then the general attention was 
for the moment withdrawn. For just as the poor Rambler 
was fairly landed and the company gathering around him, 
while Margaret Hayley was yet standing close to Horace 
Townsend, with her eyes still reading that face which seemed 
to be a perpetual puzzle to her, — the brown cheek grew sud- 



THE COWAKD. 419 

dcnly of a ghastly white, the whole frame trembled as if from 
the coming of a spasm, and the lawyer fell heavily forward, 
A'ithout a sign of sensation, just as he had done in the previous 
instance after rash exposure and severe exertion, at the Pool. 
Now, as then, reaction seemed to come with terrible force, 
unnerving the system and literally overmastering life. 

As was to be expected under such circumstances, the ex- 
citement among the pic-nickers redoubled when they had two 
insensible people instead of one, and one of the two the hero of 
so strange an adventure as that which has just been recorded, 
to look after and bring back to life. Exclamations : "He is 
dying !" "He is dead !" " He has fointed from over-exer- 
tion !" " How dreadful !" and half a dozen others ran round 
the circle. But Margaret Hayley did not hear or did not heed 
them. She was again upon her knees, for a very different 
purpose from that which had thus bowed her the, moment 
before — lifting the head of matted hair upon her lap, chafing 
the stiffened hands, and uttering words that seemed to have 
no regard to the delicacy of her position or the hearing of 
the by-standers. Such words of unmistakable anxiety and 
fondness the insensible man 'might have been willing to peril 
another life to hear ; and they were uttered, let it be remem- 
bered, when she, however the others may have been alarmed, 
had no idea that he was dying or in danger, and more as if 
she wished to pour out a great truth of her nature and be 
relieved of its weight, than with any other apparent thought 
in view. Oh, that ideal I Oh, love of woman, a moment 
checked in its first course, to break away again from all bounds 
and more than redouble its early madness I Oh, overweening 
l)ride of Margaret Hayley, that once had been her most marked 
characteristic, now cast away like a thing to be loathed and 
repr<>])ated ! Oh, prophet words, spoken by the sorrowing 
girl but a few hours after the bereavement of her life, now 
?eem'Ing to be so strangely fulfilled ! Second love, and an aban- 
donment that even the first had scarcely known, before two 



420 THE COWARD. 

months of summer had made the grass green on the grave of 
the first ! To what was all this tending ? 

Captain Hector Coles saw, and writhed. His face was 
dark enough with passion to indicate that had no troublesobie 
people and no restraining law stood in his path, he would 
have rolled that insensible form over the edge of the plateau, 
with no rope to impede its progress, and watched with heart- 
felt delight the bumping of the body from crag to crag until 
it was crushed out of all semblance of humanity at the bottom I 
But he said not one word, nor did he again attempt to inter- 
fere in the movements of Margaret. 

Only a moment or two, and then the eyes of the lawyer 
opened. He saw the face that was looking down into his 
own ; and though many a man would have pretended weak- 
ness and insensibility a little longer, to keep such a position, 
he made an instant movement to rise and struggled to his 
feet with but slight assistance. Then the young girl fell back 
into the group of other ladies, her duty and her paroxysm of 
feeling both apparently over, and scarcely aware how much 
or how little the subject of her interest knew of her words or 
her actions. Nor was it sure whether the lawyer saw, as he 
staggered up from the g;round, the expression which rested 
on the face of Captain Coles. Time had its task of solving 
both these important problems. 

But a few minutes after Horace Townsend's recovery had 
elapsed, when the body of the Rambler, showing yet, after 
every application, but faint signs of life, was carefully con- 
veyed on an impromptu stretcher to one of the wagons — the 
frnLi,-nients of the dinner, untasted except as some few of those 
who would have banqueted in a death-room had snatched 
little bits in the midst of the excitement, gathered up and 
huddled together in the baggage-wagon — the whole party 
more or less comfortably disposed in the conveyances, and 
all hurrying back to the Crawford with what speed they 
might. "We say "hurrying", advisedly. It might have been 
natural enough that they should hurry down, to afford more 



THE COWARD. 421 

effectual relief to the wounded and tortured man ; but let not 
humanity " lay the flatterinf^ unction to its soul" that they 
lacked another and a more compelling motive ! Such a story 
as that which could be woven of the events of that day, hnd 
probably never been told as of a late actual occurrence, inside 
the walls of that hostelrie, within the memory of man ; and 
nearly every one, male and female, was a little more anxious 
to indulge in the relation as soon as possible, and to his or 
her own particular set of intimates, than even to succor life or 
alleviate suffering I Wonder not that newspapers are popular 
in the latter half of the nineteenth century : man himself is 
but a newspaper incarnated ; and a few friends are not ill- 
sacrificed, much less perilled without advantage, when the 
catastrophe affords us plenty of the cheap heroism of the 
looker-on and narrator ! 



The providences are equally strange that give opportunity 
for the great blunders and absorbing agonies of life, with 
those that afford space to its triumphant successes and its 
crowning pleasures. Rooms are empty or ears are deaf, some- 
times, that we maybe made deliriously happy ; but they may 
have an equally assured mission to make us wretched beyond 
hope. Three days before, a parlor unoccupied except by 
themselves had afforded Horace Townsend and Margaret 
Hayley an opportunity of saying words that seemed to make 
each a new being to the other, and that awakened hopes as 
wild and maddening as the dreams of opium could have origi- 
nated. One laggard servant-girl with her dusting-brush, or 
one dawdling visitor lingering in the way, might have pre- 
vented all this and kept them on the distant footing they had 
before occupied. One person more, strolling down the glen 
below the Crawford at eleven o'clock on the morning follow- 
ing the events on the top of Mount Willard, might have pre- 
vented — what? Nothing, perhaps ! Are not all these things 
ordered for us ? And must not the event, debarred in one 
channel, have found inevitable way in another ? The fatalists, 



422 THE COWARD. 

who believe in a Deity of infinitesimal and innumerable prov- 
idences, say "Yes !" and argue that the ripping away of a 
boot-sole OF the scorching of the cook's short-cake come 
within the category. The people of unswayed free-will, who 
worship a Deity not over particular as to the every-day habits 
of his creatures, say "No!"' and see nothing providential in 
any event less important than the breaking out of a pestilence 
or the downfall of a nation. At which point it may be neces- 
sary to discover what connection all this has with the fortunes 
of two of tlie people most prominent in this narration. 

At about the hour named, that morning, Horace Townsend 
strolled alone down the glen, towards the Willey House. 
Great excitements are always followed by corresponding reac- 
tion ; and the visitors at the Crawford, after the departure of 
a few gone up the great mountain, had not made a single col- 
lective arrangement to occupy the day. Each was thrown 
upon personal resources ; and the resource of the lawyer was 
setting out upon a long and lonely morning walk, his legs 
being the chief actors therein, while his mind, to judge by 
the bent head and the slow step, was taking its own peculiar 
and much longer journey. 

Suddenly he lifted his head and came to a full stop. He 
was not alone, after all ! Half a mile below the house, beside 
the road and under the edge of a thick clump of woods, lay 
the trunk of a huge tree, some of the higher branches yet re- 
maining unshorn, though trimmed by the axe. On the point 
of one of these branches, very easily ascended by the stair- 
way of knots below^, some eight or ten feet from the ground, 
rested a neat foot, while the owner of the figure above it, 
dressed in a light robe which floated around her with almost 
the softness of a cloud, had thrown off her jockey-hat (the ob- 
ject first attracting the notice of the lawyer) on the ground 
below, and was stretching up at full length to pluck a cluster 
of the great creamy blossoms of the wild northern magnolia, 
starring the green leaves around it, which had beckoned her 
from the path. 



THE COWARD. 423 

Does the reader remember where it was that the first 
glimpse was caught of Margaret Hayley — standing on the 
piazza of the house at West Philadelphia, with one arm of 
Elsie Brand around her waist, but both her own hands em- 
ployed in the attempt to force open a blush rose that had as 
yet but half blown from the bud ? Roses then — the wild 
magnolia now : would the dainty white hand that had been 
so tenderly cruel to the flower-spirit two months before, only 
gather the blossom to pluck away its shreds one by one and 
scatter them listlessly on the ground as she walked ? Or had 
those two months taught her something of the meaning of 
that word "suffering," unknown before, and ripened and soft- 
ened the proud nature that possibly needed such training ? 

The lawyer stood irresolute for a moment, doubtful whether 
the lady would be pleased by his having discovered her in that 
somewhat girlish situation. Then he remembered some duty 
or feeling which seemed of more consequence than a mere 
momentary embarrassment, and came close to the log upon 
which she was standing, before she was aware of his presence. 

" Shall I help you down. Miss Hayley ?" 

The words were simple, and they did not seem to demand 
that trembling of tone which really accompanied them. Neither 
did there appear to be any occasion for the flush of red blood 
which ran all over cheek and brow of Margaret Hayley in the 
moment of her first surprise. But the flush was gone before 
she had cast that inevitable look downward, which woman- 
hood can never forget when caught playing the Amazon 
however slightly, — stepped lightly down the stairway of 
knots to the trunk and held out her hand to accept the offer. 

" See what a beautiful cluster of my favorites !" she said. 

"Beautiful indeed 1" The lawyer was looking intently at 
the blossoms or at the hand which held them — no matter 
which. The lady seemed to have some impression of tiio 
latter, for she flushed again a little and drew back both hands 
and flowers. 

"And you are walking already again this morning ?" she 



424 THE COWARD. 

said, after a moment of silence which her companion did not 
seem disposed to break. 

" Yes," absently. 

"Already quite recovered from yesterday ?" Margaret 
Hayley was treading upon dangerous ground : did she know 
it? 

They had walked on together down the road, as if b}' mu- 
tual consent. The lawyer was silent again for a time, looking 
away, and when he again turned his eyes towards her there 
was an earnestness in their glance and a sad seriousness in 
the whole face which denoted that he had thought much and 
resolved not a little in that moment. 

"Recovered from yesterday? From the slight fatigue — 
yes ! From some other effects of the day? — no !" 

"I am sorry to hear you say so." The words dropped 
slowly and very deliberately from her lips, and her head had 
a wavy nod as she spoke. 

" You are sure of the grounds of your sorrow ?" 

" I fear so — yes I" 

" Then I, too, have cause to fear !" 

Silence again for a moment, and they walked on, very 
slowly. Then Horace Townsend spoke again. 

" You are going away to the Glen House, to-morrow or the 
next day, are you not ?" 

" I believe Captain Coles and my mother have so arranged," 
was the reply. 

"And I am going southward to Winnipiseogee to-morrow." 

"You ?" The exclamation was abrupt and surprised, as if 
she had not before thought of a separation of routes. Horace 
Townsend heard the word and recognized the tone ; and what 
the spark is to the magazine was that sudden monosyllable to 
the half-controlled heart of the man. 

"Margaret Hayley, we separate then to-morrow," he saiil. 
" This may be and no doubt will be the last time that we shall 
speak together without listeners. I have something to say 
that must be spoken. AVill you hear me ?" 



THE C O ^V A K I> . 425 

She caught him suddenly by the arm, with a motion like 
that of one warning or checking another on the brink of a 
precipice — like that she had used the day before under such 
very different circumstances, — and said : 

" Oh, do not !— do not I" 

"What?" 

" Do not say words that must separate us instead of bring- 
ing us nearer to each other !" 

"And would that grieve you ?" 

" On my soul — yes !" 

Another spark to the magazine. It exploded. Horace 
Townsend had caught Margaret Hayley's hand and his eye 
literally flashed fire into hers, while his brown cheek mantled 
with the blood that could no longer be restrained. 

" I must speak, Margaret Hayley, and you must listen. / 
love you! There is not a thought in my mind, not a hope in 
my soul, that is not yours. Does that separate us ?" 

She did not draw away her hand, and yet it returned no 
answering pressure to his. Her head was bent down so that 
he could not see her face, and her words were very few and 
very sad : 

" I am sorry — very sorry ! Yes !" 

" Stop !" He laid his hand upon her forehead, gently 
pushing back her head until he virtually compelled h'er eyes 
to come up to the level of his own. " Margaret Hayley, too 
little may be said as well as too much. I am going to say 
what perhaps no other man in the world dare say. I love 
you, but that is not all. I cite your woman's heart and your 
immortal soul this moment before the sight of that God whose 
eye is looking down upon us in this sunshine, and I say that 
you love me! You may never forgive me the word, but you 
must tell me the truth ! Do you deny it ?" 

" Xo !" The word was louder and clearer than any that 
she had spoken— louder and clearer than any that had been 
spoken during the interview. And yet it was not a lover's 
response. 



426 THE COWARD. 

" You admit this, and yet you say that my opening my 
heart to you separates us instead of drawing us together. 
Three days ago you told me that — that man" — he did pot 
mention the name of Captain Hector Coles, nor did there 
seem to be any occasion — "was not and never could be your 
betrothed husband. What tie binds you ? What am I to 
fear? What am I to think ?" 

" Think that what I say is true, Horace Townsend — that I 
love you, and yet that I do not love j^ou — that your company 
is dearer to me, to-day, than that of any person on earth — 
that I respect you in every regard and hold you as one of the 
bravest and noblest of men — and yet that every word of love 
you utter makes it more evident that we must not meet again,* 
and so separates us forever !" 

*' What is this riddle ?" He asked the question in a tone 
of great anxiety, and he did not take away his eyes from the 
proud orbs that no longer sunk before them as he made the 
inquiry. How impossible to believe that the man who had 
but the moment before cited the heart and soul of Margaret 
Hayley before the very eye of God as a searcher of their 
entire truth and candor, could himself be guilty of deception 
at the same instant I And yet was he not ? Was the riddle 
really so obscure to him as he pretended? Was the very 
name tinder which he wooed and sought to win, his own ?« 
Strange questions — stranger far than that he asked ; and yet 
questions that must be asked and answ^ered ! 

"Listen, Horace Townsend !" she said after one instant of 
silence. " You call this a riddle, and you force me to read it 
to you. I wish you had not done so, but I have no choice. 
I would have kept you as a friend — a dear friend, but you 
would not accept the place." 

** Never — not for one moment !" he broke in, as if through 
set lips. Her hand was on his arm, and they were again 
walking listlessly on. She proceeded without any reference 
to his interruption. 

" I have too many words to say — words that pain me be- 



THE CO WARD. 427 

yond measure ; but you have forced me to them, and I must 
finish, even if you think me mad before I have done. 1 do 
not know but I am mad — every thing about me sometimes 
seems to be so unreal and mocking." 

Horace Townsend turned at that moment and looked her 
sidelong in the face, then withdrew his glance again as if 
satisfied, and she went on : 

" I told you that Captain Hector Coles would never be 
nearer to me than he is, and he will not. I hate that man, 
and he knows it. But I love another !^^ 

She paused, as if she expected some outburst at this declar- 
ation ; but no outbui'st came. All the effect it produced was 
a quick shudder through the arm that sustained her hand. ^ 

'* I love another — do you hear me ? I who say that I 
love you, say that I love another ! For more than a year, 
before the last two months, I was a betrothed bride, and 
never woman loved more truly than I the man who filled my 
whole ideal of manly beauty, grace and goodness. One day, 
two months ago, I found that man a coward. He dared not 
fight for his native land — not even for his native State when 
it was invaded. We parted — forever, as I thought ; forever, 
as he thinks, no doubt. I have heard that he has gone to 
another land : no matter, he has left me, with my own will. 
Then I came to the mountains, for change of scene and for 
distraction, I met you. I was attracted to you from the 
first — I have grown more attracted day by day, until I shud- 
der to think that I love you I Do you know lohyV 

" Because my affection for you has given birth to some 
feeble likeness of itself!" was the response. 

" No ! The confession may wound your vanity, but the 
truth must be told. Every throb of my heart towards you, 
Horace Townsend, has been caused by some dim resemblance 
of your face to the man I once loved, and something in your 
voice that came to me like a faint echo. It is not yoii whom 
I have been seeing and hearing, but the man who was hand- 
somer than you, your superior in so many respects, and yet 



428 THE COWAKD. 

your inferior in that one which makes me worship you almost 
as a god — your sublime, dauntless courage when all others 
quail. Do you understand me now, and know why your 
words should never have been spoken ?" 

" I think that I understand you !" was the response, but a 
bitter smile, unseen by the lady, wreathed the moustachcd 
lip as he spoke. "And that other — he will come back, some 
day, and all except the old love will be forgotten, and you 
will marry him, of course." 

" Horace Townsend, you do not quite understand me, yet I" 
she said. " I am no child, to be trifled with, but a w^oman. 
I loved him, better than my own soul, but I cannot continue 
to love when I cease to respect. I shall never marry, while 
J live, unless I marry the man to whom my heart was first 
given. I thought that perhaps I might find a new ideal, 
some day, when we first parted ; but I know better now. 
You have taught me how^ nearly the vacant place can be 
supplied, and yet how empty all is when the one bond is 
wanting." 

"And I say, again, that some day he will come back, and you 
will marry him." 

"Never — if he comes as he was !" was the reply. "If 
Heaven would work a miracle and give him the one thing 
that he lacks — bravery and patriotism, — even if he struck but 
one blow, to prove that he was no coward to fly before the 
enemies of his country, — I would go barefoot round the world 
to find him, and be his servant, his slave, if he would not for- 
give the past and make me his wife !" 

"With the last words she had broken down almost entirely, 
and as she ceased she burst into a very passion of tears and 
sobs. Where was the overweening pride of Margaret Hay- 
ley ? Gone, all gone ; and yet she clung to that one touch- 
stone — her husband, when the country called and he was sub- 
jected to the trial, must prove that he dared be patriot and 
soldier, or her lips should never sper.k that sacred name ! 

" I have indeed spoken too far, and it is better that we 



THE COWARD. 



429 



should not meet again," lie said, in a voice quite as low and 
almost as broken as her own. " I understand you, now : for- 
give me if I have caused you pain in making the discovery ; 
and good-bye !" 

He wrung the young girl's hand almost painfully and was 

turning away. 

" You are going now ? Shall I not see you again ?" she 

asked. 

" No matter— I do not know— I cannot tell. I may see 
you at the house before I leave. If not, and we never meet 
again, God bless you, Margaret Hayley, the only woman I 
have ever loved !" 

He stooped suddenly and kissed her hand, then turned, 
drew his hat over his brow and walked rapidly up the road 
towards the Crawford. Margaret, oppressed by some strange 
feeling, could not speak. She could only look back and catch 
a last glimpse of him as he turned a bend in the road ; then sink 
her face in her hands and sob aloud as if she had buried a 
second love not less dear than the first. 

When she returned to the house, half an hour after, Horace 
Townsend was already gone—flying away towards Littleton 
with four horses. Captain Hector Coles was in a better 
humor, being already advised of the fact, than he had ex- 
hibited at any time during the previous Week. Mrs. Burton 
Haylev, when his going away was mentioned, made some 
appropriate remarks on the rashness of any person exposing 
himself as the young man had done the day before, unless he 
was fully prepared for death and judgment, and remarked 
that she was rather glad that so wild a person was not going 
over to the Glen with them. In both these opinions Captain 
Coles fully coincided. Margaret spoke of the departure as 
a verv matter-of-course alfair indeed, and did not even see the 
glance by which the gallant Captain intended to convey his 
full recollection of the scene on the top of Mount Willard. 

Next day that trio, with a dozen of others, went on to the 
Glen House for the carriage-ascent of Mount Washington. 



430 THE COWARD. 

And with that announcemoyt and a single scene followin]^. 
concludes the somewhat lonj[^ connection held bj the White 
Mountains, their scenery and summer incidents, with the for- 
tunes of the various personages figuring prominently in this 
life-history. 

That scene was a vcr}- brief one and took place three days 
after the departure from the Crawford, when Margaret Ilay- 
ley, her mother and Captain Hector Coles, had made the 
ascent of Washington from the Glen House by carriage and 
Btood beside the High Altar that has before been mentioned. 
When Mrs. Burton Hayle}^ was signalizing her arrival at the 
top by repeating certain passages from the big book on the 
carved stand, which she seemed to have an idea fitted that 
elevated point in her summer wanderings, and which prob- 
ably might have done so if she had quoted them with any 
thing approaching to correctness. When Margaret Hayley, 
breathing the same air that Horace Townsend had breathed a 
few days before, and aware that she was doing so, joined to 
the rapt emotions of the place and the hour, something of the 
sad glory of human love and grief, stretching out her mental 
hands to God whose awful majesty stood before her and 
around her in the great peak lifting itself to heaven, and 
praying that out of 'darkness might some day come light, as 
once it had done on that other and more awful peak of Sinai. 
When Captain Hector Coles, above all such considerations 
and with a keen eye to his personal "main chances", fancied 
that another declaration beside the High Altar on Washing- 
ton would not only be a "good thing to do" but a proceeding 
much more likely to meet with a favorable response than if 
ventured on ground of less altitude. 

Then and there, accordingly. Captain Hector Coles, with 
Mrs. Burton Hayley very near and the granite rocks still 
nearer, possessed himself suddenly of Margaret Hayley's 
white hand, drew her close to him, and murmured : 

" Oh, how long I have waited for this hour, Margaret ! I 



THE COWARD. 431 

love you. I have not before said the same thing in words, for 
along time, but I believe that you must have seen and known 
how tlie old afl'ection has still lived and strengthened. There 
have been bitter words between us, occasionally, but they 
have not affected the true feeling lying beneath, and — " 

" Stop, Hector Coles I" said Margaret, before he had con- 
cluded. ** You say that there have been bitter words between 
us occasionally. Now let me warn you that no bitter word I 
have ever said in your hearing, has been any thing more than 
a baby's w^hisper to what I ivill say if you ever dare to allude 
to this subject agaiu I" 

" But, Margaret — " 

"Xo, not another w^ord I Mother, come here !" 

Mrs. Burton Hayley obeyed. 

" Mother, is it with your wish or approbation that Captain 
Coles has just made me another offer of his heart ?" 

" Certainly it is," the Captain commenced to answer. 

" Stop ! it was not to you I put the question, but to my 
mother I" 

'' Well, my daughter — I certainly did — that is — I — " 

" There, you hear I" said Captain Hector Coles, triumph- 
antly, and confident that the knowledge of such a maternal 
indorsement must work in his favor. 

"You did, did you ?" and the right hand of Margaret w^ent 
suddenly inside the thick shawl that wrapped her from the 
winds of the peak — and unseen by the Captain a locket — that 
fatal locket — glittered before the mother's eyes. " Will you 
promise, and keep that promise, that Captain Hector Coles 
shall not say one more word to, me of love or marriage, while 
we remain together y If not, as God sees me you know the 
consequences !" 

Mrs. Burton Hayley's face was very white at that moment, 
but the next she said : " Oh yes, I promise !" and then with a 
groan, grasping the surprised Captain by the arm : " Captain, 
if you do not wish to see me drop dead, leave that wild, mad 
girl to herself I She is crazy, but /cannot help it !" 



432 THE COWARD. 

Captain Hector Coles looked from one to the other, in added 
surprise, but found no explanation; tlien he muttered some- 
thing that was not a second love-declaration ; and the next 
moment Margaret Hayjey stood alone, isolated as the peak 
that bore her, and with a heart almost as cold in the dull 
leaden weight that seemed to lie within her bosom, as the 
storm-beaten rocks of which that peak was composed. 

Thereafter Captain Hector Coles never spoke to her of love 
again ! 



CHAPTER XXI. 



The Bearer op a Disgraced Name, ix Exglaxd — A 
Strange Quest and a Strange Unrest — Hurrying over 
TO Ireland — Too Late for the Packet — The little 
Despatch-steamer — Henry Fitzmaurtce, the Journalist 
— An Unexpected Passage — The Peril of the Emerald, 
and the end of all quests save one. 

Far back in the progress of this narration, when it had 
only reached half the distance to which it has now arrived, 
it was said of one of the principal persons therein involved : 
"Something indescribably dim and shadowy grows about the 
character and action of Carlton Brand at this time, * * =^ mo- 
tives become buried in obscurity, and the narrator grows 
to be little more than a mere insignificant, powerless chronicler 
of events without connection and action without explanation." 
The same remark will apply with quite as much force, at 
this stage, to the movements of the bearer of that dishonored 
name, in his movements on the other side of the Atlantic, 
which must now be briefly recorded in their due order. 

It will be remembered that the American entered his name 
at Liverpool, on the twentieth day of July, with the place 



THE COWARD. 433 

of his residence attached. Thenceforward enoiigli is known, 
through hotel and other records, to be sure that he spent 
some two weeks in London, occupying lodgings at one of 
the respectable houses of the great metropolis, but spend- 
ing his time, in other regards, in a manner scarcely to have 
been expected from any previous knowledge of his life and 
antecedents. Was it the lawyer, became the lawyer, who 
visited Scotland Yard the very next day after his arrival in 
London, and spent so much time with some of the leading 
men in charge of that great police-establishment, that he 
might have seemed to be employed in studying the whole 
English system of criminal detection ? And was it the lawyer, 
as the lawyer and consequently on account of his remem- 
brance of past connection with the ferreting out of crime in 
his native land, wiio went immediately afterwards into a con- 
tinuous and apparently systematic round of visits to the worst 
haunts of vice in the Modern Babel, becoming, sometimes in 
disguise and sometimes in his own proper person, but always 
more or less closely accompanied by some member of the forcp, 
the habitue of streets in which burglars and thieves most 
congregated, and of lanes in which receivers of stolen prop- 
erty, forgers and all disreputable and dangerous characters 
were known to have their places of business or their dens of 
hiding ? 

Or was there, leaving the profession of the lawyer out of 
the question, something in the peculiar surroundings of this 
man— something in the relations of character and connection 
which he had allowed to grow around him, unfitting him for 
other amusements and researches in a city which he had 
never before visited, and one supplying such marvellous 
temptations to the sight-seer and the antiquarian ? Or was 
he paying the penalty of the past in an unrest which left him 
no peace except he found it in continual motion and in the 
companionship and the study of those far more outlawed by 
statute but not more in social position than himself ? Strange 
2T • • 



434 THE COWARD. 

questions, again, and questions which cannot be answered, at 
this time, by any thing more than the mere suggestion. 

Certain it is, whatever the motive, that Westminster 
Abbey, with its every stone sacred to the memory of the 
great dead, seemed to present no attractions to him, commen- 
surate with those of Seven Dials, sacred to every phase of 
poverty and villany; that the Houses of Parliament were 
ignored in favor of St. Giles and Bermondsey, noted for 
debates of a very different character from those heard before 
the occupant of the Woolsack and the Speaker of the Com- 
mons ; and that (this seeming so peculiarly strange in a lawyer 
of admitted character and power) even the Lord Chancellor, 
rendering one of those decisions calculated to affect not only 
the laws of property in England but the whole legal system 
wherever the English language was spoken, seemed to have 
far less attention paid to him or his dicta, than was given to 
some gownless libel on the practice of criminal law, who could 
point out the habits and haunts of Burly Bill, the noted 
burglar whom he had lately saved from transportation by 
proving that he was in three different places at once, and 
neither of them the spot where the crime was committed, — 
or Snivelling Sail, reputed to be in the near companionship 
of the most successful utterer of forged notes who had so far 
escaped the clutches of the detective bVds of prey. Xight 
and day, during all those two wrecks, he seemed to eat hastily 
and to sleep only as if sleep was a secondary necessity of 
nature, to be thrown overboard wiienever some all-absorbing 
thought should make continual wakefulness necessary. 

Then the fancy (might it not be called madness ?) seemed 
to change. He had either exhausted the crime of London or 
he had skimmed that compound until there was no novelty 
of rich villany remaining. Without having examined one 
work of art or one antiquarian curiosity (so far as could be 
known), and certainly without having made one effort to find 
a footing in that society for w^hich education and past associa- 
tions would so well have fitted him, — he flitted away from 



THE COWARD. 435 

London and the name of Carlton Brand was to bo found in- 
scribed on the books of one of the leading hotels at Manches- 
ter. And what did he there ? Precisely what he had been 
doing in London, it appeared-^nothing less and nothing 
more. Alternately in conversation with one of the detective 
force or with some one of the wretches whom the detective 
force was especially commissioned to bring to justice— the 
Manchester looms (not yet all stopped by the dearth of cotton 
and the " fratricidal war" in America) presented no more 
charm to him than had been afforded by the high-toned and 
rational attractions of the metropolis. At times dressed with 
what seemed a studied disregard of the graces of person, and 
scarcely ever so arraying himself that he would have 
dreamed of presenting himself in such a guise in the midst of 
any respectable circle at home— two or three days ran him 
through the criminal life of Manchester. Then away to Bir- 
mingham, and there— but why weary with repetition when a 
succeeding fact can be so well indicated by one that has 
preceded it? The same unsettled and apparently aimless 
life_if not aimless, certainly with tendencies the most singu- 
lar and unaccountable. Thence to Bristol, and from Bristol 
to Liverpool. From Liverpool, with flying haste the whole 
length of the island and over the border to Edinburgh, pav-^^ 
ing no more attention, apparently, to the scenes of Scottish 
song and story by which he dashed, than might have been 
necessary to remember the cattle-rievers and free-booters who 
had long before furnished pattern for his late associates,— 
and seeing in the old closes and wynds frowned down upon 
by Calton Hill and the Castle, only retreats in which robbers 
could take refuge without serious risk of being unearthed. 
Then, strangely enough, away southward again to Dover, 
with a passage-ticket for Calais taken but countermanded 
before use, indicating that Paris had been in view but that 
some sudden circumstance had made a change in the all-the- 
while inexplicable calculation. What was all this — the 
question arises once more — the following out of some clue on 



4S6 THE COWARD. 

which the whole welfare of a life was believed to depend, or 
Hierely the vague and purposeless pursuit of some melancholy 
fancy furnishing the very mockery of a clue through that 
labyrinth which borders the realm of declared madness ? 

The American had been something more than a month in 
England, and far away beyond his knowledge all the events 
before recorded as occurring to Margaret Ilayley and her 
group of society in the White Mountains had already taken 
place, — when one afternoon, late in August, the train that 
dashed into Holyhead from Birmingham and Chester, by 
Anglesey and over the Menai, bore this exemplification of 
unrest as a passenger. Those who saw him emerge from the 
carriage upon the platform noticed the haste with which he 
appeared to step and the eagerness of his inquiry whether the 
train, which had been slightly delayed by an accident, was yet 
in time for the boat for Dublin. She had been gone for more 
than an hour, and the black smoke from her funnel was already 
fading away into a dim wreath driven rapidly northward before 
the sharp south-easter coming up the Channel. Night was 
fast falling, with indications that it would be any thing rather 
than a quiet one on that wild and turbulent bit of water lying 
between the two islands ; and some of the old Welsh coast- 
men who yet lingered on the pier, when the}' saw the impa- 
tient man striding up and down and uttering imprecations on 
the delayed train, shrugged their shoulders with the remark, 
which he di(inot hear or did not choose to heed, that "ihey 
should be much obliged to any train that had kept them from 
taking a rocking in that cradle the night !" 

Brow knit, head bent, tread nervous and almost angry, and 
manifesting all the symptoms of anxiety and disappointment, 
the American traversed the wharf, his tall form guarded 
against the slight chill of the summer evening on the coast 
by a coarse gray cloak which he drew closely around him as 
he walked, thus adding to the restless stateliness of his ap- 
pearance. At one of his turns he was sufiBciently disengaged 
to see a man of middle height, dressed in a somewhat dashing 



THE COWARD. 437 

civilian costume, standing at a little distance up the pier and 
conversing with two or three of the coastmen. One of the 
latter was pointing towards himself; and the moment after 
the stranger approached with a bow. He was a young man 
of twenty-five or thereabouts, side-whiskered and moustached, 
decidedly good-looking, with quite as much of the Irishman 
as the Englishman in his face, and seemed at all points a gen- 
tleman — more, that much rarer combination, especially on the 
soil of the mother island, a frank, clever fellow I 

" They tell me, sir," said the stranger, " that you were one 
of the passengers on that delayed train, and that you manifest 
some disappointment at missing the Dublin boat." 

" They are entirely correct, sir," answered the American, 
returning the bow. " I was very anxious, for particular rea- 
sons, to be in Dublin to-morrow ; and in fact the whole object 
of my visiting Ireland at all, just now, may very probably be 
defeated by the accident that brought in the traiu that half 
hour too late." 

He spoke in a tone very earnest and not a little agitated. 
The other remarked the fact, but he thought himself too good 
a judge of character to suspect, as some other persons under 
similar circumstances might have done, that the anxious man 
was a hunted member of the swell-mob or a criminal of some 
other order, who thought it politic to get off English soil as 
soon as possible. He determined, at the second glance, that 
he had to do with a gentleman, and proceeded with the words 
that he had evidently intended to say on first accosting the 
delayed passenger. 

"You have made no arrangements for getting over, I sup- 
pose ?" 

*' None, whatever !" answered the American. " How can 
I, until the boat of to-morrow, when — when it may be too 
late altogether for my purpose ? I was walking off my dis- 
appointment, a sort of thing that I have been more or less 
used to all my life !" and the other noticed that he seemed to 
sigh wearily — " walking it off before going to find a hotel and 



438 THE COWARD. 

lying awake all night, thinking of where I ought to have been 
at each particular hour." 

"Well," said the stranger, "I had a motive not personal 
to myself, in accosting you, or I should not have taken the 
liberty. I am Mr. Henry Fitzmaurice, one of the London 
correspondents of the Dublin Evening Mail. I believe that 
I am not mistaken in supposing that I am speaking to an 
American ?" 

" Xot at all mistaken !" answered the American, pleased 
with a frankness so much more like that of his native land 
than he had been in the habit of meeting during his short 
sojourn abroad. " I am called Mr. Brand — Carlton Brand, 
and on ordinary occasions I am a lawyer of the city of Phila- 
delphia." 

" That little matter over, which I should not have been able 
to manage under half an hour had I been a pure John Bull 
instead of two-thirds Irishman," said the man who had intro- 
duced himself as Fitzmaurice, in a vivacious manner very 
well calculated to put the other at his ease — " now, not being 
either of us members of the Circumlocution Office, we will 
get at the gist of the matter at once. I am going over to 
Ireland to-night, or at least I am going to make a start in 
that direction, and I believe that I can manage to secure you 
a passage if you will accept one." 

** Certainly, and with many thanks, but how ?" was the 
reply. "^ 

"Well, I am not so sure about the thanks," said Fitz- 
maurice, in the same pleasant tone which had before won his 
companion. " It is going to be a wild night on the Channel, if 
I am any judge of weather, and I have crossed it often enough 
to begin to have some idea. But I must cross, and so must 
you, if you can, as I understand you to say." 

"I must, certainly, if any thing in the shape of a vessel 
does so," said the American. " But you have not yet told 
me—" 

"Xo, of course not!" the newspaper man ran on. "Al- 



THE C O W A E D . 439 

ways expect an Irislimau to begin his story in the middle and 
tell it out at each end, and you will not be far from the fact. 
Well, there are some despatches for the Lord Lieutenant that 
need to be across before noon to-morrow, as the Secretary for 
Ireland has an insane fancy, and a special train left London 
to make the connection with the steamer that has just gone. 
I came in it, and with the Queen's messenger, — with some 
matters that must reach the 3Iail in advance of the other 
Dublin papers. They have a little despatch-steamer lying 
just below, and the messenger telegraphed to fire her up, 
from one of the back stations, when he found the chances 
against him. In an hour she will have a full head of steam, 
and before it is quite dark we shall be clear of the coast, I 
have no doubt that I can procure you a passage, and if you 
will step round with me to the wharf where she lies, I will 
certainly try the experiment. Now you have it."' 

"And a very kind and generous thing I have at the same 
time 1" exclaimed the American, warmly. 

"As I said before, I do not know about the generosity !" 
replied the correspondent, as they took their way around the 
w^arehouses that headed the packet-wharf, towards the pier 
below, where the despatch-boat lay. " The fact is that the 
Emerald is not much bigger than a yawl, and though she is 
a splendid little sea-boat and never has found any gale in 
which she could not outlive the biggest of the merchant 
steamers, she is very much of a cockle-shell in the way of 
jumping about ; and people who have any propensity for 
sea-sickness, a thing a good deal worse than any ordinary 
kind of death, are very likely to have a little turn at it under 
such circumstances." 

" I have never been very much at sea, but I believe that I 
am beyond the vulgarity of sea-sickness !" was the answer ; 
and just then they reached the despatch-steamer. 

She was indeed a little thing, as compared with the 
steamers which the American had been in the habit of seeing 
sent away on sea-voyages — very low in hull, rakish in pipe 



440 THE COWARD. 

and masts, looming black in the gathering dusk of evening, 
and her bulwarks seeming so low as to present the same ap- 
pearance of insecurity against falling overboard that a lands- 
man's eye immediately perceives in a first glance at a pilot- 
boat. The steam was already well up and hissing from her 
escape valves, while the black smoke rolled away from her 
pipe as if it had a mission to cloud the whole port with soot 
and cinders. 

A few words with the Queen's messenger and an introduc- 
tion to the Captain of .the little Emerald followed ; and the 
correspondent of the Mail had not overrated his influence 
with either, for in ten minutes the lawyer was booked for a 
passage over, under government auspices. In half an hour 
more the despatch -boat steamed away; and when the deep 
dusk of night fell to shut away the Welsh coast, while the 
half dozen officers and their two passengers were trifling over 
a very pleasant supper with wines of antediluvian vintage 
accompanying, the Emerald was well gfif the Head, tossing 
about like a cork in the sea that seemed to be every moment 
growing more and more violent, but making fine weather 
through it all, flying like a race-horse, and promising, if every 
thing held, to land the messenger and her other passengers at 
Kingstown, at very near as early an hour in the morning as 
those touched the shore who had left Holyhead two hours 
before by the packet. 

The American remained long on the deck, in conversation 
with the newspaper correspondent, delighted with the cordiality 
of his manner and the extensive scope of his information, as he 
had before been with the generosity which supplied himself 
with a passage over at the moment of disappointment. The 
Hiberno-Englishman seemed to be equally pleased with his 
new friend, whom he found all that he had at first believed — 
a gentleman, and neither pickpocket nor madman. Mr. Fitz- 
maurice, still a young man and a subordinate, had never been 
in America, but he had something more than the ordinary 
newspaper stock of information about countries lying beyond 



THE COWARD. 441 

sea, and he had the true journalist's admiration for the youiij^ 
land that has done more for journalism within fifty years than 
all the other countries of the world through all the ages. He 
listened with pleasure to the descriptions which the lawyer 
was equall}'- able and willing to impart, of the modes in which 
the news-gathering operations of theleading American news- 
papers were carried on, and especially of the reckless ex- 
posures of correspondents on the battle-fields of the great 
war, which have all the while exhibited so much bravery and 
so stupendous a spirit of enterprise, combined with a lack of 
judgment equally injurious and deplorable. 

Mr. Fitzmaurice, on his part, resident in London during all 
the period of our struggle, necessarily present at most of the 
parliamentary debates in which the good and ill feeling of 
Englishmen towards the United States have been shown in 
such unfavorable proportions — acquainted with most of the 
leading public men of the kingdom, and with an Irishman's 
rattle making the conveying of his impressions a thing of 
equal ease and pleasure, — he had much to say that interested 
the Philadelphian ; and it would have been notable, could he 
have been fairly behind the curtain as to the character and 
movements of the other, to mark how the man who during 
two weeks residence in London had never stepped his foot 
within the Parliament Houses, could drink in and digest, 
from another's lips, the story of the debates which he might 
so easily have heard first-handed with his own ears ! 

But as the newspaper man could know nothing of this, 
enough to say that the conversation was a pleasant one, and 
that hours rolled away unheeded in its continuance, while the 
little Emerald skimmed over and plunged through the rough 
waves of the Irish Channel, and while those waves grew 
heavier, and the sky darker, and the wild south-easter in- 
creased every hour in the violence with which it whistled 
through the scant rigging and sent the caps of the waves 
whirling and dashing past the adventurous little minnow of 



4:4i2 THE C O AV A R D . 

the steam-navy, to fall in showers of foamy spray far to lee- 
ward. 

It was past midnight when the young men, so strangely 
thrown together, so different in position and pursuit, but so 
pleasantly agreeing in all the amenities of social intercour.se, — 
began to feel the demands of sleep overmastering the excite- 
ment of the situation, left the deck and went below to the 
berths in the little cramped cabin which had been prepared 
for them. The Queen's messenger had already retired and 
was sleeping so soundly in his four-by-seven state-room, with 
his despatches under his pillow, that nothing less than the 
going to pieces of the steamer or an order to start on a new 
journey could possibly have woke him. To such men, ever 
flying from one port to another, by sea and by land, bearing 
the lives of individuals and often the welfare of whole peoples 
in their hands, with no more knowledge of what they bear 
than has the telegraph wire of the message that thrills along 
it — to such men, habituated to excitement, hurry and ex- 
posure, that excitement really becomes a sort of second 
nature ; and the art of sleeping on the ground, on a board, 
bolt upright in a chair or even in the saddle, is one of the 
accomplishments soonest learned and last forgotten. What 
are storms to them or to that other class to which refer- 
ence has before been made — the rough Ariels of the news- 
paper Prospero ? Nothing,' except they cause hindrance 1 
What is even the deepest personal peril by sea or land ? 
Nothing, except because in putting a sudden period to the 
existence of the messenger it may interfere with the delivery 
of his all-important despatches ! 

So slept the Queen's messenger, and so, after a time, in 
their narrow berths, slept the American and bis new-made 
friend.' Once falling away into slumber, the very motion of 
the vessel made that slumber more intense and stupefying, 
old Mother Nature rocking her children somewhat roughj}^ 
in the " cradle of the deep." And of what dreamed they ? 
Who knows ? Perhaps the handsome and vivacious young 



THK COWARD. 4^3 

Anglo-Irishman of the girl whose miniature he had accidentally 
displayed to the eyes of the other, filling the back case of his 
watch, — not yet his wife, but to be so some day when talent 
and energy should bring their recompense and fortune shower 
her favors a little more liberally upon him. Perhaps the 
Philadelphia lawyer of wrongs and shames in his native 
land, of the apparently mad quest which he seemed to be 
urging, and of possible coming days when all errors should 
be repaired, and the great stake of his life won beyond a 
peradventure. 

How long the lawyer had slept he knew not, when some 
change in the motion of the boat produced the same effect on 
his slumbers that is said to be wrought on the sleeping miller 
by the stoppage of the splashing water-wheel and the 
rumbling burr-stones. He had slept amidst the violent 
motion : he partiiilly woke when there was a momentary 
cessation of it. In an instant after the vessel seemed to be 
struck one tremendous blow that sent a shiver through every 
plate and rivet of her iron hull — through every board and 
stanchion of her cabin-work. There are men who can remain 
undisturbed by such a sensation on ship-board, but the 
American was by no means one of them ; and the fumes of 
sleep, partially dissipated before, rolled away almost as 
suddenly as morning mists before a brisk north-wester. He 
was broad awake to feel a hand" grasping him by the shoulder, 
and opened his eyes to see Fitzmaurice standing by the berth 
and holding the joiner- work with one hand to support him- 
self against the fearful lurches of the vessel, while he had 
Employed the other in arousing the apparently slumbering 
man. 

" Get up and come out at once !" he said, his voice hoarse 
and agitated. 

" What has happened ?" asked the American, springing 
upright in his berth and preparing to leap from it as men 
will do when such unpleasant announcements are made. He 
seemed to know, intuitively and without any instruction from 



4:4:4: THE C O W A K D . 

the shock which had just startled him, that some marked 
peril must have sinit the journalist down to arouse him ia 
that melodramatic mauner. 

" Why, we are in danger, I suppose — serious danger !" 
was the replj. "Do you not feel the change in the motion 
of the boat ? We are in the trough of the sea, without steam, 
and as near as I can make out through the mist, driving on 
the Irish coast with more rapidity than we bargained for !" 

" Heavens !" was the very natural exclamation in reply, as 
the American managed with some difficulty to throw on the 
one or two articles of clothing of which he had divested 
himself. 

" I suppose that it is a bad job," the journalist continued, 
" and what just now makes me feel peculiarly bad about it is 
the fact that I was the means of inducing you to come on 
board, and that if any thing serious should happen — " 

" Hush ! not a word of that !" said the lawyer, appreciating 
fully that chivalrous generosity which after conferring a great 
favor could take blame to itself for any peril growing out of 
that favor. " Hush ! You have treated me, Mr. Fitzmaurice, 
with great kindness, and I hope you will believe me man 
enough not to misunderstand our relative positions in any 
thing that may occur." 

Fitzmaurice, who seeraed to be relieved by the words, but 
who certainly was laboring under an amount of depression not 
incident alone to any peril in which he stood personally in- 
volved, — grasped his hand with something more than the or- 
dinary pressure of brief acquaintance. The motion of the 
boat, alternately a roll and then a heavy plunge, had now 
become absolutely fearful, intermingled with occasional repeti- 
tions of that crashing blow which had started the American 
from his slumber ; but holding fast of each other and of 
various substantial objects that fell in their course, the two 
young men reached the companion way and the deck, the 
journalist detailing meanwhile, in hasty and broken words. 



THE COWARD. 445 

what he Icnew of tlie extent of the (lifficultj in which they 
were involved. 

Up to fifteen or twenty minutes before, the little Emerald, 
a capital sea-boat but possessed of but a single engine (which 
description of single engine boats, by the way, should never 
be allowed to make voyages by open sea, except under the 
especial pilotage of one Malthus), had been making good 
weather, though the blow had increased to a gale and the 
waves of the Irish Channel increased to such size that they 
seemed to be opposed to the Union and determined to make 
an eternal severance of the two islands. Fitzmaurice had 
himself awoke about an hour before, and gone upon deck 
because unable to sleep longer ; and he had consequently 
become aware, a little before the American in his berth did 
so, of an accident to the vessel. One moment of cessation of 
the plunging roll with which she had been ploughing ahead 
of the waves breaking on her larboard quarter — a moment of 
almost perfect stillness, as if the little vessel lay moored in 
some quiet haven — then a sudden veering round and that ter- 
rible crash and shock of the waves under the counter, the 
wheel, and along the whole side, which told that she was 
lying helpless in t4ie trough of the sea, a marine Samson as 
thoroughly disabled as if she had been shorn of all her strength 
at once by the shears of one of the Fates. A word from one 
of the officers, the moment afterwards, had told him of some 
disarrangement of the engine, consequent on the severe 
strain of the heavy sea upon the boat ; and he had then been 
left to study out for himself the amount of peril that might 
be involved, and to observe the coolness with which officers 
and men devoted themselves to a task which might or might 
not be successful — which might terminate at any moment in 
one of those terrible seas breaching the little vessel and 
foundering her as if she had indeed been nothing but a yawl- 
boat I It was at this stage that he had come down and 
wakened his friend of a few hours, feeling some responsibility 
for his safety (as well as a presentiment with regard to him 



446 THE COWARD. 

which he by no moans expressed in words), and leaving" the 
Queen's messenger to pursue his dreamless sleep until it 
should end in Kingstown harbor or at the bottom of " Davy 
Jones' locker." 

By the time all this had been expressed in one tenth the 
number of words here employed, they had reached the deck, 
and certainly the prospect there was any thing but one cal- 
culated to re-assure either. The Emerald was rolling wheel- 
houses under, in the trough of the sea, but 5o far mysteriously 
relieving herself through the scuppers as it seemed impossible 
that she should do. Two men were at the wheel, but they 
stood necessarily idle. Forward were half a dozen men, hold- 
ing on to keep from going overboard at the first lurch. Even 
above the roar of the storm could be heard the sharp clink of 
hammers coming up from the engine-room and each sounding 
yet one pulse-beat of Hope. The south-easter was howling 
with demoniac fury, wailing through the rigging as if singing 
requiems for them all in advance, and driving before it the 
thin mists that shut away any idea of the sky. By the light 
on deck and on the troubled expanse of water eastward it was 
evident that day was breaking ; and it was through a knowl- 
edge of that fact and of the rate of speed ^t which they had 
been steaming and driving partially before the wind all night, 
that Fitzmaurice had made his calculation expressed below, 
that they must be close on the Irish coast, a lee-shore, in such 
a blow, of no pleasant character. 

Such was the situation — a deplorable one, as any one can 
readily perceive who has ever seen its precise parallel ; yet 
not entirely a hopeless one, for they might not be so closo 
upon the coast as had been feared, and the engine might yet 
be thrown again into gear before the little vessel foundered 
and in time to claw oflf from the danger lying to lee-ward. 
Fitzmaurice had seen the position before : the American saw 
it at once through his own eyes and from the explanations 
given him by the journalist. The moment was not favorable 
for conversation, in that perilous motion, that roar of wind 



THE COWARD. 447 

and wave and that suspense of mind ; and the two youn^ 
men held none except in a few words ahnost shouted to each 
other, but stood far aft on the larboard quarter, waiting calmly 
as two men with human instincts could be expected to wait- 
for — what Heaven only knew ! The face of the Anglo-Irish- 
man was almost thoughtlessly calm, in spite of the anxiety 
which he had so plainly expressed : that of the American was 
dark, his lips set and his brow contracted, but there was no 
sigh of shrinking and no indication of that basest passion, 
fear I Who could believe that the man standing there in the 
gray light of morning and awaiting without one apparent 
tremor of the muscles what might be an immediate and a 
painful death, bore a name that had been so lately dishonored 
by the most abject cowardice ? 

Suddenly there was a cry which has blanched many a cheek 
and made many a lip tremble since Noah made his first sea- 
voyage in the Ark : " Land on the starboard quarter !" fol- 
lowed by another and yet more startling call : " Breakers to 
leeward !" 

Fitzmaurice and the American both turned instantly in the 
direction indicated, as was inevitable ; and then they saw that 
the warning cry from the look-out was not the result of any 
illusion. The daylight was rapidly broadening, the mist had 
for the moment driven away leeward ; and apparently not 
more than a mile away rose a huge dark headland assuming 
the proportions of a mountain, while at its base and in the 
exact direction towards which the doomed vessel was drifting, 
the sea was breaking in wreaths of white foam over ledges 
of rock which seemed to be already so near that the}' must 
go grinding and crashing upon them before the lapse of five 
minutes. They felt that the water shoaled, too, for the 
plunging roll of the disabled steamer grew every moment 
more terrible, and just as the cry was given she was breached 
at the waist by a sea from which she did not immediately 
clear herself. It only needed an eye that had ever scanned 
peril by sea and shore, to know at that moment that the 



448 THE COWARD. 

Emerald and all on board were as certainly doomed, in all 
Ijuiuan probabilit}^, as if the one bad been already broken up 
and scattered along the coast in fragments and the others 
made food for fishes along the rocks of Ireland's Eye I 

" The Hill of Howth and the rocks at the foot of it !" cried 
Fitzraaurice as he recognized the position. "Now God help 
us, for they are dead to leeward, and if we have any accounts 
to settle we had better settle them rapidly I" 

There was little agitation in his tone, now, and there was 
none in that of the American as he replied two words. They 
were the last he ever spoke, to mortal ear. May they have 
been true when he awoke from his long sleep, as they were 
before he fell into it I Those two words were : 

'' I see !'' 

The two men were standing, as has been said, very near 
the larboard quarter. The Emerald, too, as has also been 
already said, was very low in the bulwarks, as befitted her 
rake and her clipper appearance. Just as the lawyer uttered 
the two words, one of the officers of the steamer came aft, 
holding on amidst the terrible roll with something of the te- 
nacity of a cat, and took his place at the wheel. The mist 
had closed down again and the Hill of Howth and the break- 
ers were both for the moment shut away. 

There was a jar — a creeping, trembling jar that seemed to 
run through the little steamer, from stem to stern-post, and 
yet no blow from the fierce waves and no grinding of her 
keel upon the dreaded rocks. It was life — motion — the beat 
of machinery once more ! At that critical juncture the engine 
had moved again for the first time, and if not safety there was 
yet at least another struggle with destiny. The officer had 
dashed back to throw the steamer up into the wind, the very 
instant that he felt the steam once more rushing into the 
cylinder. 

Then followed what cannot be described, because no one 
living can say precisely what occurred. Gathering way al- 
most in an instant from the mad dash of her wheels into the 



THE COWARD. 449 

water, the little Emerald plunged forward as if for her life. 
She had but a hundred or two yards of vantage ground left, 
and seemed to know it. As she gathered way and the quick 
whirl of the wheel swept her head gradually round to the 
sea, one mighty w^ave, as if afraid of being baulked of its 
prey and determined upon a final effort, struck her under the 
weather bow and port wheel and sent her careening so low 
to leeward that the starboard wheel-house and even the star- 
board quarter-rail were under water. She rolled back again 
in an instant, triumphant over the great enemy, and thence- 
forward dashed away from the white breakers on her lee as 
if she had been merely tantalizing them with a futile pros- 
pect of her destruction, — to make her way safely two hours 
afterwards into Kingstown Harbor and to land the Queen's 
messenger (who had just then awoke) and the correspondent 
of the Evening Mail, only an hour later than the passengers 
by the packet had disembarked. 

But she did not land the American. When the steamer 
rolled down with her starboard quarter-rail under water, 
Fitzmaurice, standing nearest to the larboard quarter, called 
out to his companion : " Look out and hold on !"then clutched 
the bulwark with his own hands and obeyed his own injunc- 
tion. But wlien the steamer righted he was alone ! Whether 
the lawyer had missed footing and failed to grasp any point 
of support at the critical moment, or whether he had lost 
head in the dizzying motion and gone over without even 
knowing his danger, — certain it is that he had been swept 
overboard under circumstances in which the whole British 
navy could have done no more to save. him than one child of 
ten years! Henry Fitzmaurice, missing him and dreading 
what had really occurred, thought that for one second he saw 
a human head, with the hair streaming up, away off in the 
yeasty water : but that was all. And he said, bitterly, real- 
izing all the painful facts of the event, and taking to himself 
a thought of regret that was likely to cling to him while his 
generous heart continued to beat : 
28 



450 THE COWARD. 

" My God I — it was just as I thought ! I have been the 
means of drowning that splendid fellow, after all 1" 



A few hours later, little Shelah, the barefooted daughter 
of one of the poor fishermen whose hut stood at the foot of 
Howth, around northward towards Ireland's Eye — little 
Shelah, who had gone down over the rocks to the beach 
when the worst of the storm was over, rushed back to the 
cabin with terror in her eyes and broken words upon her lips : 

" Oh, father I — there bees a man all dead and dhrownded 
down there by the rocks beyant ! And he bees so handsome 
and so much like a rale gintleman ! — how could he dhround ? 
Come down and see till him, father !" 

The fisherman went down, and he and his rough mates re- 
moved the body and did their humble and inefi'ectual all to 
resuscitate a body from which the breath of life had long 
departed. Then the fisherman and his wife and his mates and 
little Shelah all mourned over the manly beauty that had 
been sacrificed, and wondered who he could possibly be, and 
where his kindred would mourn for him. It was only when 
Father Michael, the good old priest of the parish was sum- 
moned, that they could form any nearer idea of the personality 
of the drowned man. Then they knew, for Father Michael 
could read, as they could not, and he told them, from one of 
the cards in the pocket-book, that " his name had been Carlton 
Brand, and that he had belonged to Philadelphia, away over 
in America, where they used to be so free and happy, but 
where they were fighting, now, all the time, about the 
naygurs that didn't seem to him worth the throuble !" 

They buried him, with such lamentations as they might 
have bestowed upon " one of their own," in consecrated 
ground in a little graveyard a mile away from the Hill, 
w^estward ; and Father Michael gave the dead man the benefit 
of a benevolent doubt as to his religion, with the remark that 
" there were good Christians over in America, and this was 
one of them, maybe !" uttering a prayer for the repose of his 



THE COWARD. 451 

soul that, if it bore him no nearer to the Beautiful Gate, 
certainly left him no farther away from it, while it fuKillcd 
the behest of a simple and beautiful faith ! This done, aud 
a note despatched to his favorite journal, giving the name 
and place of burial of the unfortunate man. Father Michael 
felt, as he had reason to feel, that he had done his whole 
melancholy duty. 

"Whatever the quest of the American, it was ended : what- 
ever had been the secret of his unrest, it was not a secret to 
the eyes that thenceforth watched over a destiny no longer 
temporal but eteini' 



It has been suggested that Henry Fitzmaurice, the jour- 
nalist, so strangely thrown into the company of the Phila- 
delphian, so much pleased with his manner and impressed by 
his conversation, and so suddenly separated from him by an 
accident which seemed to have something of his own handi- 
work in its production, — was likely to bear with him, during 
life, a regret born of that circumstance. Such being the case, 
it was eminently natural that in giving a description of the 
accident to the despatch-steamer and the peril to her pas- 
sengers, -on the day following, in the Mail, he should have 
dwelt at some length on the sad fate of Mr. Carlton Brand, 
the American, alluded in terms of warm respect to the 
character which had briefly fallen under his observation, and 
felicitates the far-away friends Of the unfortunate man, on tho 
fact already made public in the Nation, that the body had 
been early recovered and received tender and honorable 
Christian burial. 



4.">2 THE COWARD. 



CHAPTER XXIL 

Pleasanton's advance on Culpeper — Crossing the Rappa- 
hannock — The Fight and the Calamity op Rawson's 
Cross-Roads — Taking of Culpeper — Pleasanton's Vol- 
unteer Aide — Townsend versus Coles — The Meeting 
OF two who Loved each other — And the little Ride 

THEY TOOK TOGETHER. 

On Sunday the thirteenth day of September, 1863, and 
Monday the fourteenth, but principally on the former day, 
took place that running fight which displayed some of the 
very noblest qualities of the federal cavaliy shown during the 
War for the Union, and which is better entitled than other- 
wise to be designated as the Battle of Culpeper. One of the 
first conclusive indications was given in that fight, that while 
the rebel cavalry, which at the beginning of the war was 
certainly excellent, had been running down from the giving 
out of their trained horses, and the deterioration of the quality 
of their riders through forced conscription, — the Union 
cavalry, at first contemptible in force and inefficient in com- 
parison to their very numbers, had every day been improving 
as fast as augmenting, until they had become the superiors 
of what the best of their foes had been at the beginning of 
the contest. War can make any thing (except perhaps 
statesmen) out of a given quantity of American material ; 
but it can unmake as well, when it strains the material 
existing and creates a forced supply for the vacant places of 
the dead and the vanquished, out of the infirm and the in- 
capable ; and before the end of this conflict the lesson will 
have been so closely read as never to need a repetition. 

The rebels held Culpeper and the south l)ank of the Rap- 
pahannock, and had held the whole of that line for weeks, 
formidable in their occasional demonstrations, but still more 
formidable in what it was believed they might do by a sud- 



THE COWARD. 458 

den crossing: of that dividing stream at some moment when 
the Union forces should be deficient in vigilance, preoccupied, 
or otherwise embarrassed. They were to be driven back if 
possible, from their threatening front, or if not driven back, 
at least struck such a blow as would make early offensive 
operations on their part improbable. These were the inten- 
tions, so far as they can be known and judged, which led to 
the crossing of the Rappahannock at that particular juncture. 

At three o'clock on the morning of that Sunday which was 
to join with so many other days of battle during the rebel- 
lion in proving that "there are no Sabbaths in war," — at an 
hour when the thick darkness preceding the dawn hung like 
a pall over the banks of the rugged stream and the hostile 
forces that fringed it on either side — the cavalry camps on the 
north side of the Rappahannock were all astir. All astir, and 
yet all strangely quiet, in comparison with the activity mani- 
fested.' No mellow bugle rang out its notes of reveille ; there 
was no rattle of drum or shrieking of fife ; the laggard sleeper 
was awakened by a touch on the shoulder, a shake, or a quick 
word in his ear. Horses were saddled in silence ; and at the 
commands: ** Prepare to mount!" "Mount!" given in the 
lowest possible tones that could command attention, the 
drowsy blue-jacketted, yellow-trimmed troopers, all be- 
spurred and be-sabred as if equal foes to the horses they 
were to ride and the enemies they were to encounter, — 
vaulted lightly or swung themselves heavily, according to the 
manner of each particular man, into their high peaked McClel- 
lan saddles that seemed to be all that was left them of their 
old leader. The squadrons were formed as quietly and with as 
few words as had accompanied the awakening and the mount- 
ing ; for if a surprise of the enemy's force was to take place, 
it was a matter of the highest consequence that no loud sound 
or careless exclamation should reach the ears of the wary 
pickets and wide-awake videttes of the rebels hugging close 
the banks on the south side of the narrow river. 

The preparations were at last and hastily completed, long 



454: THE COWARD. 

before the gray dawn after the moonless night had begun to 
break over the Virginia hills lying dark and cool to the east- 
^ward. Perhaps that very morning had been selected for the 
attack because on the night before the new moon had made 
its appearance and there was no tell-tale lingerer to throw an 
awkward gleam on an accoutrement and thus tell a story 
meant to be concealed. Troopers clustered together and formed 
squadrons, squadrons were merged into regiments which in 
turn swelled to brigades and brigades to divisions. It was 
only then that the extensive nature of the movement, which 
had Pleasanton at the head and Buford, Gregg and Kilpatrick 
all engaged in the execution, could have been conjectured even 
by an eye capable of peering through the darkness. It seemed 
scarcely an hour after the first awakening when the formation 
was complete and the order to ''March !" given ; and there 
was not even yet a gleam of red in the eastern sky when the 
whole command was in motion. 

This large cavalry force, under Pleasanton as we have 
said, was composed of three divisions, commanded respec- 
tively by Buford, Gregg and Kilpatrick, all Brigadiers. The 
Rappahannock was crossed at as many different points. 
Buford with the First going over at Starke's Ford ; Gregg, 
wnth the Second, at Sulphur Springs, four miles distant ; 
and Kilpatrick, with the Third, at Kelly's Ford, nine miles 
farther down and thirteen miles distant from the place of 
crossing of the First. Stuart, the famous " Jeb," with his 
confederate cavalry, was known to be in force on the ele- 
vated ground at and around Culpeper Court House, with his 
pickets and videttes extending to the very edge of the Rap- 
paliannock; and a wide sweep of the Union force was be- 
lieved to be necessary to circumvent him. Detachments of 
rebel troops were also known to hold all the prominent 
points between Culpeper and Brandy Station, where the 
brigades of Lomax and W. F. H. Lee were lying. 

Pleasanton was over the river, with all his force before 
broad daylight — so rapid and successful had been the move- 



THE COWARD. 455 

ment. The roads were dry and in as good order as Vir- 
ginia roads are ever allowed to be by the powers that preside 
over highways ; and the force, still in the three divisions, 
swept southward as silently as iron-shod animals have the 
capacity for bearing iron-accoutred riders. Napoleon la Petit 
had never yet succeeded in introducing gutta-percha scab- 
bards for the swords of his troopers and gutta-percha shoes 
for their horses, even into the French cavalry ; and the Yankee 
troops of Pleasanton had all the disadvantages of the usual 
rattling of bridle-bits the clattering of sabres within steel 
scabbards, and the pounding of multitudinous hoofs upon the 
hard dry earth, the latter occasionally a little muffled by an 
inch of gray powdery dust, choking the riders as it made their 
advance less noisy. 

Spite of the clanking of hoof and steel, however, the ad- 
vance w^as made with such silence and celerity that the 
greater portion of the rebel pickets on'the southern bank of 
the Rappahannock were captured, while the remainder — here 
and there one scenting danger afar off and holding an advan- 
tage in knowledge of the roads — fled in dismay to report that 
the whole Army of the Potomac, sappers and miners, pioneers 
and pontoniers, horse, foot and dragoons, was closing in upon 
Culpeper. 

As the morning advanced and the light grew^ stronger, so 
that the danger and the persons of the attacking forces could 
at once be better distinguished, skirmishing commenced with 
that portion of the rebel force, stationed in more or less 
strength at various points and called to arms by their pickets 
being driven in upon them, — to meet and if possible check 
the advancing columns. Not long before they discovered that 
any effectual check to the forces which Pleasanton seemed to 
be pouring down every cross road and throwing out from 
behind every clump of woods on the roadsides, was impos- 
sible ; and they fell back, skirmishing. 

At Brandy Station (droll and unfortunate name, destined 
to supply more bad jokes at the expense of the dry throats 



i56 TUB COWARD. 

of the army thau almost any other ppot on Virginia soil), a 
junction of the three divisions of Union troops was effected; 
and there, while that disposition was being made, a sharp 
fight took place between the First, under Buford, and the rebel 
cavalry under Colonel Beale of the Ninth Virginia. But that 
struggle, though sharp, was only of brief continuance : out- 
foughten, and it must be confessed, outnumbered, the enemy- 
was driven back from the Station and pursued vigorously. 

While the gallant Buford was thus occupied with the First, 
Gregg, with the Second division was making a detour to the 
right and pouring down his troopers upon Culpeperfrom the 
north by the Ridgeville road, driving before him upon the 
main body at the Court House a rebel brigade that had held 
the advance, under General Lomax (an officer whose name, 
we may as well say, apropos of the bad jokes of war-time, 
had caused nearly as many of those verbal outrages upon 
English, as the unfortunate Brandy Station itself). 

Kilpatrick, meanwhile, with his Third division had not 
been idle. (AVhen was he ever known to be idle, except when 
others held him in check, or ineffective except when some 
other than himself misdirected his dashing energy ?) lie had 
swept around to the left, nearly at the same time that Gregg 
made the detour to the right, and striking the Stevensburgh 
road advanced rapidly from the east towards Culpeper and 
the right of the enemy's position, which rested on Rawson's 
Cross-Roads, two miles south-east of the Court-House. The 
rebels here made a stubborn resistance, and steel met steel 
and pistol-shot replied to sabre-stroke as it had not before 
done that day ; but the odds were a little against them ; they 
were outflanked by that incarnate " raider" of the Sussex 
mountains of Xew Jersey, who no doubt could trace back 
some drop of his blood to Johnny Armstrong the riever of 
the Scottish border, or the moss troopers of the Bog of Allen 
in Ireland ; and they fell back to the town and beyond it, 
taking up new positions which they were not destined to hold 
much longer than those they had abandoned. 



THB COWARD. 457 

But this brief shock of battle between the division of Kil- 
Patrick and the rebels opposed to it, did not roll away from 
the little hamlet of Rawson's Cross-Roads without the en- 
acting of one of those sad tragedies, in the shedding of the 
blood of nipn-combatants, which seem so much more painful 
than the wholesale but expected slaughter of the field. Near 
the crossing of the roads there stood one brick house, of two 
stories, the only one of that material in the vicinity. This 
house, when Kilpatrick came up, was occupied by the rebel 
sharp-shooters, partially sheltered by the thick walls and 
bringing down the federal cavalry from their saddles at every 
discharge of their deadly rifles. Such obstructions in the 
way of an advance, especially when they destroy as well as 
embarrass, are not apt to be treated with much toleration by 
those who have the power to sweep them away ; and imme- 
diately when the imminence of the danger was discovered, 
one of the federal batteries was ordered up to dislodge the 
sharp-shooters. It dashed up with all the celerity that 
whipped and spurred and galloping horses could give it, 
halted within point-blank range, unlimbered, and sent shell, 
canister and case-shot into and through the obnoxious edifice 
in a manner and with a rapidity little calculated upon by the 
mason who quietly laid his courses of bricks for the front and 
side-walls, in the quiet years before Virginia secession. The 

sharp-shooters were soon silenced and dislodged at least all 

of them who were left after the last deadly discharge of mis- 
siles had been poured in by the battery ; and the house was 
at once occupied, when the firing ceased, by a detachment of 
Union cavalry dismounted for that service. When those men 
entered the half-ruined building they first became aware of 
this extraordinary and deplorable tragedy, in which a little 
blood went so far in aAvakening regret and horror. They 
heard cries of pain and shrieks of distress and fear, echoing 
through the building, in other accents than those which could 
belong to wounded soldiers— the tones of women ! And in 
the cellar they found the painful solution of the mystery 



458 THE COWARD. 

more painful far, to them, than a hundred times the death and 
sufforiug under ordinar}^ circumstances. In that cellar, among 
smoke, and blood and dust, were huddled twenty or thirty 
non-combatants, men, women and children ; and in their midst 
lay an old man, quite dead and the upper part of his head 
half carried away by a portion of shell, while fallen partially 
across his legs was the body of his son of sixteen, his boyish 
features scarcely yet stilled in the repose of death from a 
ghastly hurt that had torn away the arm and a part of the 
shoulder. Two women lay near, one dying from a blow" on 
the temple which had driven in the bones of the skull like the 
crushing of an egg-shell, and the other uttering the most 
heart-rending of the cries and groans under the agony of a 
crushed leg and a foot literally blown to atoms. A sad sight ! 
• — a harrowing spectacle, even for war-time ! And how had 
it been occasioned ? 

It would seem that on the approach of the cavulry and the 
commencement of fighting in the neighborhood, this party of 
non-combatants had crowded into this house — no doubt long 
to be known in the local traditions of the place as that of 
James Inskip, — and taken refuge in the cellar, believing that 
in it, as the only brick house in the vicinity, they would be 
safest from the missiles of the opposing forces. And so they 
would have been, safe enough beyond a doubt, had not the 
rebel commander, unaware of the presence of non-combatants 
in the building, or heedless of the common law of humanity not 
to expose them to unnecessary danger in any military opera- 
tion, recklessly placed his sharp-shooters in shelter there and 
thus drawn the fire of the fatal battery. Two or three of the 
shells, crashing through the house, had fallen into the cellar 
and exploded in the very midst of the trembling skulkers in 
their place of fancied security, — with the sad results that have 
been recorded, and which none more deeply deplored than the 
men who had unwittingly slaughtered the aged and the help- 
less. Some of the Richmond papers told harrowing stories, 
a few days after, of the *' inhuman barbarity of the dastardly 



THE COWARD. 459 

Yankees who wantonly butchered those inoffensive raen and 
helpless women and children in James Inskip's house at Ilaw- 
son's Cross-Roads" ; but they forgot, as newspapers on both 
sides of the sad stmgorle have too often done during its con- 
tinuance, to add one word of the explanatory and extenuating 
circumstances ! 

By the time that Kilpatrick, with the Third, had concluded 
the episode of Rawson's Cross-Roads and driven the oppos- 
ing forces back upon the town, Buford, with the First, after 
chasing the rebel cavalry under Beale to moderate satisfaction, 
had come up from the south, and the junction of the three 
divisions was accomplished. 

On the elevated site of Culpeper and in the uneven streets of 
that old town w^hich bears, like so many of its compeers, 
shabby recollections of English aristocracy that for some 
cause seem to suit it better than the thin pretence of demo- 
cratic government, — there Stuart, than whom the rebellion 
has developed no more restless or more active foe of the 
Union cause, appeared determined to make a last and effectual 
stand. With a celerity worthy of his past reputation he placed 
sharp-shooters in houses that commanded the Union advance, 
planted batteries at advantageous positions in the streets, and 
threw up barricades of all the unemployed carts and wagons 
and all the idle timber and loose fence-rails lying about the 
town, in a manner which would have endeared him to the 
Parisians of the time of Louis Philippe. Right and left and 
on every hand, defending these obstructions and supporting the 
batteries, dashed his mounted "Yirginia gentlemen," once the 
very Paladins of their knightly class, when Fauquier and the 
White Sulphur saw the pleasant sport of tilting at the ring in 
the presence of the bright-eyed Queens of Beauty of the Old 
Dominion, — now brought down to the level and compelled to 
contest the fatal advance, of a " horde of Yankee tailors on 
horseback" ! 

General Pleasanton, the actual as well as nominal head of 
the Union advance, held his position on an eminence a short 



460 THS COWARD. 

distance east of the town, from which an excellent view of 
the whole situation could be commanded, and whence he 
directed all the movements with the rapidity of a soldier and 
the coolness of a man thoroughly in confidence with himself 
and well assured of the material of his command. He had 
won with the same troops before, even when placed at disad- 
vantage: that day he felt that the game was in his own hands 
and that he could play it rapidly and yet steadily. The thing 
which worst troubled him as from that little eminence he looked 
out from under his bent brows, over the scene which was to wit- 
ness so short, sharp and decisive a conflict, — was the knowl- 
edge how seriously the stubborn resistance offered by the 
rebels was likely to peril the non-combatants in the town, and 
how inevitably, from the same cause, the old town itself, just 
tumble-down enough to be historical and picturesque, must 
suffer from the flying shot and shell that know so little mercy. 
He had hoped, the first surprise succeeding, to take Culpeper 
against but slight resistance ; and it was no part of his plan 
(it never is part of the plan of any truly brave man !) to batter 
the town if that measure could be avoided ; but the balances 
and compensations of war are appreciable if not gratifying, 
musketry on one side is nearly sure to be answered in kind by 
the other, and artillery (when there happens to be any, and 
wo to the party without the " big guns" when the other has 
them at command !) — artillery has a very natural habit of re- 
plying to the thunderous defiance sent out by its hostile kins- 
men. Culpeper, too well defended, was not; the less certain to 
be taken, w^iile it was the more certain to bear marks of the con- 
flict that only the demolition of half its buildings could erase. 
God pity and help the residents of any town given up to 
the ruthless passions of a fierce soldiery — to plunder and 
rapine and murder, — after what is so inadequately described 
as "taking by storm^\f When for the moment hell is let 
loose upon the earth, as if to teach us that if w^e have yet 
something of the god lingering in our fallen manhood, we 
have yet something of the arch-fiend remaining to show how 



THE COWARD. 461 

wo accompanied him iu his fall. When roofs blaze because 
a reckless hand has dashed a torch therein in the very wan- 
tonness of destruction. When the golden vessels of the 
church service and the sacred little memorials of happ}' hours 
in boudoir and bed-room are alike torn from their places, 
dashed into pieces and ground under armed heels, as if the 
inanimate objects bore a share of the wrong of resistance and 
could feel a part of the suffering meted out to it. When 
murder is for the time licensed and the blood of the defender 
of his door-stone and his hearth dabbles his gray hair on one 
or the other of those sacred places, and there is no thought 
of punishment for the red hand, except as God may silently 
mete it in the years to come. When — saddest and worst of 
all, — the matron is outraged before the eyes of her bound and 
blaspheming husband ; and young girls, the peach-bloom of 
maidenhood not yet brushed from the cheek, are torn shriek- 
ing from the arms that would shelter them, to be so polluted 
and dishonored by a ruffian touch that but yesterday would 
have seemed impossible to their dainty flesh as the rising up 
of a fiend from the lower pit to rend the white garments of 
one of the redeemed in heaven, — so polluted and dishonored 
that a prayer for the mercy of death bubbles up from the lips 
at the last word before resistance becomes insensibility. 

This wreck of a "storm" of human license is terrible — so 
terrible that the effects of the convulsions of nature, the tem- 
pest, the tornado and even the earthquake, sink into insig- 
nificance beside them. Heaven be praised that during the 
War for the Union, called by our English cousins so "fratri- 
cidal," we have as yet known no Badajos or even a sacking 
of Pekin I But only second to such scenes in horror and 
scarcely second in terror, hav^e been some of those supplied 
when the battb issue of the two armies was joined near some 
quiet country town before lying peaceful and inoffensive, or 
when military necessity has made its houses temporary forti- 
fications and its streets the points of desperate attacks and as 
desperato' defences. Then what crashing of shot and shell 



462 THE COWARD. 

through houses ; what demolition of all that had before been 
sacred ; what huddling together of the frightened and tiio 
defenceless who never before dreamed that, though war was 
in the land, it would break so near to them; what mad gather- 
ing of valuables and impotent preparations for flight that 
would be more dangerous than remaining ; what whistling 
of bullets that seemed each billeted for a defenceless breast ; 
what thunderous discharges of cannon that made every non- 
combatant limb quiver and every delicate cheek grow blood- 
less; what shouts in the street and cries of terror and dismay 
within doors; what trembling peeps through half-closed shut- 
ters, with an imagined death even in every such momentary 
exposure; what cowerings in cellars and hidings beneath 
piles of old lumber in garrets ; what reports of defeat or vic- 
tory to the party that was feared or favored ; what claspings 
of children and ungovernable weepings of hysteria ; what 
prayers and what execrations ; what breakings-up and de- 
structions of all that had been, and what revelations of the 
desolation that is to be ! 

Such, since the breaking out of the rebellion, has been the 
situation of many a before-peaceful town, in many a State that 
once rested happily under the shadow of the Eagle's wing. 
And such was the situation of one fated old town that day, 
when Gregg from the north, Kilpatrick from the east and 
Buford from the south, came up almost simultaneously and 
their forces charged recklessly into the streets of Culpeper 
Court-House. The excitement and confusion in the town at 
once became all that we have so feebly endeavored to indi- 
cate — women shrieking in terror, soldiers groaning with their 
wounds, children crying from fright ; and blended with these 
and a hundred other inharmonious sounds, the shouts in the 
street, the bugle calle, the hissing of bullets, the rumble of 
artillery wheels, the broken thunder of the feet of trampling 
horses, the occasional crash of half-demolished houses, and 
the hoarse roar of the batteries as they belched out their 
missiles of deajth and destruction. Culpeper, for a short 



I THE COWARD. 463 

period, was a veritable pandemonium in miniature ; and no 
(lotail can add to the force of that brief but comprehensive 
description. 

Near the raih'oad bridge spanning the little stream running 
nearly through the centre of the town, the rebels had dis- 
covered a strategic point of no little consequence, and they 
had posted there a battery of several pieces, well served 
and annoying the advance of the Third division very mate- 
rially. The battery seemed to be placed there, not only to 
obstruct the advance but to protect a train of cars just then 
being loaded by the rebels above, with munitions and other 
articles of consequence, preparatory to a start down the rail- 
road southward. Battery D., Second New York Artillery, 
ordered for that service, ran up its sections at a gallop, un- 
limbered and poured in shot an^l shell, grape and canister 
upon the train, in such disagreeable rapidity as sent the half 
loaded cars away towards the Rapidan with all the speed 
that could be suddenly mustered. Still the battery at the 
bridge remained, firing rapidly and cutting up the head of 
Kil Patrick's column in a manner calculated to make the 
General gnash his teeth in indignation. The space to the 
bridge was uphill, accordingly raked downward by the rebel 
fire ; the bridge itself was narrow and the footing for horses 
seriously damaged by the railroad tracks that crossed it with 
their switches and lines of slippery iron. Still it was known 
that that bridge must be cleared, at any cost, or the advance 
through Culpeper would be a most bloody one if accomplished 
at all. Just as Kilpatrick was about to order a charge of 
cavalry to clear that bridge and if possible capture the pieces, 
his intention seemed to be anticipated and a squadron of Stuart's 
cavalry rode down and took post, dismounted, behind the bat- 
tery, in position to support, while three or four companies of 
rebel riflemen followed, ready to do deadly execution with 
their pieces against any troops attempting to charge, and to 
fall upon that force with resistless fury at the moment of their 
weakness, if the guns should be ridden over I No pleasant 



464 THE COWARD. 

prospect, as the Sussex raider thought, and for a moment he 
apparently wavered in intention, while the battery played 
heavily and every instant saw one or more of his best troopers 
biting the dust of the causeway below. 

But this momentary indecision, whether or not it would 
have continued much longer of his own volition, was not des- 
tined to do so when the will of another came into play. A 
horseman dashed rapidly over to the spot where Kilpatrick 
was momentarily halted, from Pleasanton a few hundreds of 
yards away, running a fearful gauntlet of the enemy's fire, as 
he did so, from a battery that had just wheeled into position 
and opened down a narrow cross-street to the left, — spoke a 
few quick words to the General and then awaited the move- 
ment that wad- to follow. And it was not long that he or the 
commander who sent him receded to wait. The command had 
been : " Clear that bridge and take the battery, at all hazards !'* 
and Kilpatrick only needed that support of his own judgment 
to order a charge which he would have been best pleased, if 
he could only have gone back to be a Colonel for a few 
moments, to lead in person. His eye rolled questioningly 
over the Third for a moment, and then the rapid words of 
command followed. Only a certain number of cavalry could 
be employed upon that dangerous service, without making 
the carnage greater by throwing the troopers literally in the 
way of each other ; and it was the Second New York, Harris 
Light Guard, a troop which had already won honor on every 
field touched by the hoofs of their horses, — called out for that 
quick, sharp, perilous duty that every squadron in the com- 
mand probably coveted. 

The gallant Second received the order with loud cheers 
that came nigh to imitating the well-known rebel fox-hunt- 
ing yell, for some of their best fellows had fallen ingloriously 
and the human tiger was not only unchained but set on 
horseback. They formed column by fours with a rapidity 
which told of the fierce hunger of conflict ; and when the 
bugles rang out the charge, the dusty and smoke-stained 



THE COWARD. 465 

riders returned their now-uscloss carbines to their slings, 
drew sabres, and driving their spurs rowel deep into the 
flanks of horses that seemed ahnost as anxious as themselves, 
dashed forward towards the bridge. Their ringing shouts 
did not cease as they galloped on, and their sword-blades, if 
they grew thinner in number, still gleamed as brightly as 
ever in the sunlight, as they measured that narrow but fatal 
space, while round after round of grape and canister, carbine- 
bullets, musket-balls and rifle-shots, burst into their faces and 
mowed down their flanks as they swept on. Saddles were 
emptied, horses went down with cries of pain more fearful 
than any that man can utter, and brave men went headlong 
into the dust from which they would never rise again in life. 
But the progress of the charging squadron did not seem to be 
delayed a moment. The rebel gunners of the battery were 
reloading for yet one more discharge, when, just in the midst 
of that operation, over the bridge and upon them burst the 
head of that column w^hich seemed as if nothing in the way 
of human missiles had power to stay it. Before the gray and 
begrimed cannoniers could withdraw their rammers the 
troopers were in their midst. Then followed that fierce cut- 
ting and thrusting of artillery swords and cavalry sabres, that 
interchange of revolver-shots and crushing of human bones 
under the feet of trampling horses, incident to the taking of 
any battery that is sharply attacked and bravely defended. 
A little of this, but still under heavy fire from behind, — and 
the guns were captured, with all their men and horses left 
alive. 

And yet the work of the Second New York in that quarter 
was by no means finished. Thatsteady and murderous fire con- 
tinued from up the street, as the infantry and the dismounted 
cavalry of the support fell back ; and it was only by one more 
sweeping charge that the annoyance could be removed. 
Scarcely any one knew whence came the voice that ordered 
that second charge, but the blood of the troopers was up and 
they made it gallantly. In three minutes thereafter a brokeu 
29 



466 THE COWARD. 

and flying mass, far up the street, was all that remained of 
the supporting force ; but a fearfull}^ diminished number of 
the cavahymen rode back to assist in sending the captured 
battery to the rear. We shall have occasion, presently, to 
know something more of these two charges, undoubtedly 
the most spirited events of a day on which all the Union 
troops and many of the rebels reflected honor upon the causes 
they supported. 

Immediately after the clearing of the bridge a gallant dash 
was made by Gen. Custer, the " boy general with the golden- 
locks" (the man who has made a solemn vow, it is said, nevei 
to shorten those locks until he rides victoriously into Rich- 
mond) leading the charge in person, with portions of the First 
Vermont and First Michigan cavalry, against a section of a 
battery, stationed nearly a quarter of a mile beyond the 
bridge and within a hundred or two yards of the front of 
Stuart's main body. These pieces were worked by as obsti- 
nate a set of gray-backs as ever rammed home a rebel 
cartridge ; and the gunners, defiant of Custer's detour to the 
left to escape a direct raking fire, and apparently relying upon 
the main body lying so near them, continued to load and fire 
until the federal leader and his men were literally on the top 
of the pieces and fairly riding them under foot. Guns and 
caissons were taken, while the support relied upon seemed to 
be so paralyzed by the daring of the whole affair as scarcely 
to offer any resistance, — the horses hitched to the pieces, 
the guns limbered up, and the rebel gunners even forced to 
mount and drive their lost cannon to join the others in the 
rear ! 

A considerable rebel force of cavalry, artillery and infantry 
were by this time in^fuU retreat below the town, along the 
line of the Orange and Alexandria railroad ; and the Fifth 
New York cavalry were sent in pursuit. The gallant troopers 
of the Fifth charged at a gallop the moment they came 
within sweeping distance of the foe, but the high embank- 
ment of the road broke the charge, and the detour neces- 



TITS COWARD. 467 

snry to make a more advautaji^ooiiR a])proacli deprived the 
gallant boys of their half-won laurels and allowed the fly- 
ing enemy to escape. 

While Kilpatrick was thus engaged, Buford and Gregg, 
with the First and Second, had, been by no means idle. 
Dashing into the town, each from his chosen direction, the 
troopers of each leaped barricades and drove the rebels before 
them wherever encountered upon open ground ; and a part of 
the force of either division, dismounted, skirmished from cor- 
ner to corner and dislodged the sharp-shooters one by one 
from all their holes and hiding-places. Sometimes stubbornly 
resisted, at others seeming to have no foe worthy of their 
steel, the three divisions won their Avay through the old town; 
and the cavalry of Stuart, up to that time so often declared 
invincible, were at last driven pell-mell out of Culpeper and 
back to the momentary refuge of Pony Mountain. Even 
there they were again dislodged, the First Michigan cavalry 
accomplishing a feat which might have surprised even Hal- 
stead Rowan of this chronicle — routing a whole brigade by 
charging up a hill so steep that some of the riders slipped 
backwards over the tails of their horses, their saddles bearing 
them company ! 

The town of Culpeper was finally occupied at one o'clock, 
P.M. ; and not many hours after the ridge behind it and Pony 
Mountain were in the hands of the dashing cavalrymen. Re- 
treating towards the Rapidan, they were pursued towards 
Raccoon Ford on the left and centre by Buford and Kilpatrick 
with the First and Third divisions, while Gregg, with the 
Second, pushed a heavy Rebel force before him to Rapidan 
Station. By nightfall the rebels had been driven to the north 
bank of the Rapidan, where both forces bivouacked that night 
in line of battle. 

Monday morning saw the recommencement of hostilities 
and the retreat of the rebels to the south side of the river, 
leaving the federal forces to hold the country between the 
Rappahannock and the Rapidan, with all the strategic points 



468 THE COWARD. 

therein, Culpeper included. Stuart, it was said, had often boasted 
that "no Yankee force could drive him from Culpeper!" and 
if such a boast was really made and afterwards so signally 
disproved by the "horde of Yankee tailors on horseback," the 
fact only furnishes one more additional proof to Benedick's 
declaration that he would live and die a bachelor, so soon 
followed by his marriage with Beatrice, — that humanity is 
very uncertain and that human calculations are fallible to a 
degree painful to contemplate ! 

Such were the general features of the crossing of the Bap- 
pahannock and the Battle of Culpeper, one of the sharpest 
cavalry affairs of the war, and perhaps more important as 
illustrating the reliability to which the Union horse had 
attained from a beginning little less than contemptible, than 
from the mere military advantage gained by the movement. 
It now becomes necessary to descend to a few particulars con- 
nected with the event of the day, and briefly to trace the in- 
fluence on the fortunes of some of the leading characters in 
this narration, exercised by the advance of General Pleasanton 
and his dashing brigadiers. 

It has been seen that at a certain period of that day the 
division of Kilpatrick was held temporarily in check by the 
rebel battery posted at the railroad-bridge, and that for a mo- 
ment the General, aware of the necessity of removing the 
obstruction if the direct advance through Culpeper was to be 
continued, yet hesitated in ordering the charge which must 
be made in the face of such overwhelming difficulty, until a 
peremptory direction from Pleasanton left him no option in the 
matter. And it is to personal movements of that particular 
period that attention must at this moment be directed. 

Just when he made the discovery through his field glass of 
the havoc being wrought by the rebel battery and the mo- 
mentary hesitation, Pleasanton, who did not happen to be in 
the best of humors with reference to it, was placed in the same 
situation in which "Wellington for a few moments found him- 
aelf on the day of Waterloo, when he employed the button- 



THE COAVARD. 469 

bagman with the blue umbrella under his arm, to carry some 
important orders. He was, in short, out of aide-de-camps. 
One by one they had been sent away to different points, and 
it so chanced, just then, that none had returned. Something 
very much like an oath muttered between the lips of the 
impatient veteran of forty, and one exclamation came out so 
that there was no difficulty in recognizing it : 

" Nobody here when everybody is worst wanted I I wish 
the d — 1 had the whole pack of thcrii I" 

"Perhaps /can do what you wish, General." 

The words came from a young man in civilian's dress — 
gray pants and broad-brimmed felt hat, but with a military 
suspicion in his coat of light blue flannel, — who stood very 
near the commander, his horse's bridle over arm and a large 
field glass in hand, and who had apparently been scanning 
with much interest a scene of blood in which it was neither 
his duty nor his disposition to take part. 

" You ?" and the veteran turned upon him, with something 
very like a laugh on his lips. '* You ? Humph I Do you 
know what I want ?" 

" Some one to carry an order, I suppose !" 

" Exactly I Over that causeway, to Kilpatrick at the 
bridge. Do you see how that flanking battery to the left is 
raking every thing, and the one in front is throwing beyond 
Kil's position ? The chances are about even that the man 
who starts never gets there ! Now do you wish to go ?" 

" No objection on that account I" was the reply of the 
young man, who seemed to be on terms of very easy intimacy 
with the General, as indeed he was, — a privileged visitor, who 
had accompanied him in the advance, but eminently " unat- 
tached" and thus far neither fighting nor expected to fight. 

" The d — 1 you haven't 1 Well, , that is certainly cool, 

for you! Never mind — if you like a little personal taste of 
what war really is, take this," and he scribbled a few words 
on a slip of paper on his raised knee — "take this and get it 
to Kilpatrick as soon as you can. If you do not come back 
again, I shall send word to your family." 



470 THE COWARD. 

" Oh, yes, thank yon, General ; but I shall come back 
again !" He had swung himself into the saddle of his gray, 
while Pleasanton was writing, and the veteran held the paper 
for one instant in his hand and looked into his face with a 
strange interest. What he saw there seemed to satisfy him, 
and he handed the paper with a nod. The volunteer aide- 
de-camp received it with a bow, and the next moment was 
flying towards the front of the Third, riding splendidly, run- 
ning the gauntlet that has before been suggested, but un- 
touched, and delivering his orders in very quick time and at 
emphatically the right moment. The important movement 
which immediately followed has already been narrated, in its 
bearing on the result of the day; but there were other effects 
not less important when personal destinies are taken into the 
account. 

Gregg, who espied something on the right, that was likely to be 
hidden from Kilpatrick until it discovered itself by unpleasant 
consequences, had sent over an aide with a word of warning ; 
and nearl}^ at the same moment when the volunteer messenger 
from Pleasanton reached the brigadier, the officer from Gregg 
rode rapidly up from his direction. Both delivered their 
messages in a breath, and then both fell back at a gesture 
from the General. The aide from Gregg was turning his 
horse to ride back again to his post, when he caught a glance 
at the somewhat strangely attired man who had come in from 
Pleasanton. From his lower garments that glance naturally 
went up to his hat, and thence, by an equally natural move- 
ment, to his face. The dark brows of the officer bent darker 
in an instant, and perhaps there was that in his gaze which 
the other felt, (there are those who assert that such things are 
possible), for the next instant there was an answering glance 
and another pair of brows were knitted not less decidedly. 
Those two men were serving (more or less) in the same cause, 
but they looked as little as possible like two warm-hearted 
comrades in arms — much more as if they would have been 
delighted to take each other by the throat and mutually exert 
that gentle pressure calculated to expel a life or two ! 



THE COWARD. 471 

Pleasanton was just calling out the Second to take the bat- 
tery and clear the bridge. While he was doing so, the evil 
genius of one of those men drove them into collision. The 
messenger from Gregg, who wore the shoulder-straps and 
other accoutrements of a Captain on staff service, but with a 
cavalry sabre at his belt, — after the pause of a moment and 
while the other was still fixedly regarding him, spurred his 
horse close up to the side of the gray ridden by the civilian, 
and accosted him in a tone and with a general manner that 
he seemed to take no pains to render amiable : 

" What are you doing here ?" 

" On staff service. Captain. How is your head ?" was the 
reply, with quite as much of sneer in the tone as the other 
had displayed of arrogance. 

" What do you call yourself just now ? — ' Horace Town- 
send* still ?" was the Captain's next inquiry. 

" To most others, yes : to you, Captain Hector Coles, just 
now, I am — " and he bent his mouth so close to the ear of the 
other that he could have no difficulty in hearing him, though 
he spoke the last words in a hoarse whisper that has even 
escaped us I 

" I thought so, all the while !" was the reply, an expression 
of malignant joy crossing the face. " The same infernal coward 
—I knew it !" 

The face of the man who had been Horace Townsend seemed 
convulsed by a spasm of mortal agony the instant after, but 
it gave place almost as quickly to an expression of set, deadly 
anger, the eyes blazing and the cheeks livid. He leaned 
close to the Captain and even grasped his arm as if to make 
sure that he should not get away before he had finished his 
whole sentence. 

" Captain Hector Coles," he said, still in the same low, 
hoarse voice, but so near that the other could easily hear — 
"you called me the same name five or six weeks ago at the 
Crawford House, and I am afraid that I i^roved that it be- 
longed to yoxiV 



472 THE COWAKD. 

" I told you that I would kill you some day for that im- 
pertinence, and I will /" was the reply of the Captain, terrible 
anger in his face. 

"No — if you kill rae at all, and I do not think you will, — 
it will be because 3^ou believe me, with a:ood reason, something 
more of a favorite with a lady whose name it is not necessary 
to mention, than yourself 1'' 

This insulting boast of preference and allusion to Margaret 
Hayley were quite as well understood as they needed to be. 
There was another livid cheek, just then, and a fierce answer- 
ing fire in the eye which told how deeply the barb rankled. 
But before the Captain could speak, to utter words that must 
have been equally bitter and blasphemous, the civilian con- 
tinued : 

"You challenged me for what I said at the White Moun- 
tains, Captain Hector Coles — you man with a swimming in 
the head ! I refused your challenge then, but I accept it 
now. If you are not the coward you called me, you will 
fight me here and instantly !" 

" Here and now ?" These were all the words that the sur- 
prised and possibly horrified Captain could utter. 

" Exactly !'' was the reply, the voice still low and hoarse hut 
rapid and without one indication of tremor. " I told you that 
I was on staff service. So I am. I have just brought Gen- 
eral Kilpatrick orders from General Pleasanton to clear that 
bridge and take the battery yonder that is doing us so much 
damage. Ah ! by George — there goes another of our best 
fellows !" This as a round shot came tearing into the ranks 
just ahead, killing one of the troopers and his horse. Then 
he resumed, in the same low rapid tone : " You see those 
Xew York boys forming there, to do the work. Ride with 
them and with me, if you dake, Captain Hector Coles, and 
see who goes furthest ! That is my duel !" 

" J? — I am on staff duty — nofc a mere cavalryman !" There 
was hesitation in the voice and deadly pallor on the cheek : 
the civilian heard the one and saw the other. 



THE C O W A R U. 473 

"Refuse to g^o with me and fight out our quarrel in that 
manner," the excited voice went on, "'and by the God who 
made us both, the whole army shall know who is the coward ! 
J\lore — " and again his mouth was very near to the ear of the 
other — ''she shall know it 1" 

There are spells by which the fiend can always be raised, 
without much doubt, however troublesome it may be to find 
any means by which to lay him afterwards. To Captain 
Hector Coles there was one conjuration irresistible, and that 
had been used in the present instance. Shame before the 
whole army was nothing — it may be doubted, in fact, whether 
he had not known something of that infliction before at least 
a portion of the army, and survived it without difficulty. But 
shame before Margaret Hayley, after the boasts he had used, 
the underrating of others in which he had indulged, and the 
worship of physical courage which he knew to be actual!}^ a 
foible in her nature ? — no, that was not to be thought of for 
one moment I Better wounds or death, out of the way of 
both which he had before so skilfully kept, than that ! This 
reflection did not occupy many seconds, and his heavy brow 
was as black as thunder as he turned short round in the 
saddle and almost hissed at his tempter : 

" Come on, then, fool as well as coward, and see how long 
before I will teach you a less9n !" 

Horace Townsend — as he must still be called — did not say 
another word in reply. The Light Guard were by that time 
formed for the charge, and he merely said, in the hearing of 
all : 

" Come — the Captain and I are going to take a ride with 
the boys I Who will lend me a sword ?" 

The strange demand for a moment drew general attention 
to him, and among other regards that of Kilpatrick. The idea 
of a civilian throwing himself into such a charge seemed to 
strike him at once, and before one of the orderlies could draw 
out his weapon and present il, the General had handed his, 
with the words : 



474: T H B C O W A K D . 

" Here is mine ! — Mind that you bring it back again !" 
Kilpatrick unslung his sword and held up the scaVjbard 
with the blade, but the new volunteer merely drew out the 
blade with a bow and driving spurs into his gray dashed for- 
ward to the head of the column, Captain Hector Coles close 
beside him. Perhaps no two men ever went into battle side 
by side, with precisely the same relative feelings, since carving 
up men with the broadsword became a profession. Neither, 
it seems almost certain, had the least thought of devotion to 
the country, of hatred to the rebellion, or even of espt^it du 
corps, moving him to the contest. The one was intent upon 
revenging an insult received long before, by getting the other 
killed in proving him a coward, — and may have had another 
but still personal motive : that other was equally anxious to 
keep up his own reputation in the eyes of a woman, and to 
get removed out of his way a man whom he believed to be a 
rival, but who w^as really no more in his way than Shak- 
speare's nobody who ** died a' Wednesday." Both half blind 
with rage and hate, and both, therefore — let the truth be told 
— bad soldiers ! Both following a petty whim or facing death 
as a mere experiment, and neither with the most distant 
thought of the fate that rode close behind, to protect or to 
slay, and each alike inevitably ! 

Just then the bugle rang out, the commands " Column for- 
ward ! Trot, march I Gallop, march ! Charge !" rang out 
in quick succession, and away dashed the Second, with the 
results that have already been foreshadowed in the general 
account of the movement. But though armies and the various 
smaller bodies that form armies, are great aggregates of 
manhood, they are something more ; and who can measure, 
in reading an account of that bridge so gallantly carried, that 
attack so splendidly repulsed, or that point of battle held 
against every odds, with the conclusion — " Our loss was only 
two hundred for two thousand], in killed and wounded," — 
who can measure, we ask, the amount of personal suffering in- 
volved in that movement and its result ? — who can form 



THB COWAKD. 475 

any guess at the variety of personal adventure, depression, 
elevation, hope, fear, delirious joy and maddening horror, 
going to make up that event spoken of so flippantly as one 
great total ? 

The rebel battery beyond the bridge had been throwing 
round shot and shell, as has already been observed, reaching 
far beyond Kilpatrick's front and doing heavy damage. It 
was inevitable that as the advance of the attacking column 
was seen, that fire should be redoubled. And before they 
had crossed half the intervening distance the rain of bullets 
frpm the supporting rebel riflemen began to blend with the 
fall of heavier projectiles, making a very storm of destructive 
missiles, more difficult for horsemen to breast than any op- 
posing charge of their own weight could have been, splitting 
heads, crashing out brains, boring bodies full of holes from 
which the blood and the life went out together, and hurling 
horses and riders to the ground with such frequency that 
wounded men had their little remaining breath trampled out 
by their own comrades and every fallen animal formed a tem- 
porary barricade over which another fell and became disabled. 
Through the air around them rang the scream of shell and 
the shrill whistle of bullets, blended with the inevitable cry 
that rose as some bullet found a fatal mark, and the roar of 
agony when a horse was hurled desperately wounded and yet 
living to the ground. The shout with which the troopers 
had at first broken into their charge, did not die away ; and 
it did not cease, in fact, until the command had done its work 
— until the battery was taken and the supports scattered by 
the supplementary onset ; but with w-hat sounds it was blent 
before the cavalrymen reached the rebel guns, only those who 
have listened to the same horrible confusion of noises can 
form the most distant idea. To all others the attempt at de- 
scription must be as vague as the thought of Armageddon or 
the Day of Falling Mountains I 

If those sights and sounds cannot be described, w^ho shall 
describe the sensations of those who then for the first time 



476 THE COWARD. 

rode point-blank into the very face of death ? Xot wc, cer- 
tainly. The very man who has experienced them can tell 
no more, one hour after, of what existed at the time, than 
one moment's rift in a drifting cloud reveals of the starlit 
heaven above. 

AVhat Captain Hector Coles really felt when first mcetinj^ 
that iron and leaden storm so unlike the usual accompani- 
ments of his " staff service," may be guessed but can never be 
known. Ke rode on gallantly, at least for a time : that was 
quite enough. 

What the ci-devant Horace Townsend experienced may be 
easily enough indicated, and in one word — madness. He- 
was stark, raving mad ! The anger felt a few moments 
before; the novelty of the position ; the motion of a horse 
that bore him nobly : the sword, that was no holiday weapon 
but a thing of might and death, clasped by his unaccustomed 
but nervous hand ; the shouts of fierce Ijravery, the groans of 
anguish and the scream of missiles ; above all, the rousing 
for the first time of that human tiger which sleeps within 
most of us until the fit moment of awakening comes — no 
witches' cauldron on a blasted heath ever brewed such a 
mixture to craze a human brain, as that he was so suddenly 
drinking ; and it may be said that his rational self knew 
nothing of what followed. He was riding on — it might have 
been on horseback on the solid earth, in a fiery chariot 
through the air, or on the crest of a storm-wave at sea — he 
could have formed no idea which. When he came within 
striking distance of the foe, he was swinging that heavy 
sword of Kilpatrick's, at something, everything, he knew not 
what, that seemed to stand in his way. Nothing appeared 
to hurt him, nothing to stop him or the gallant gray he rode. 
There was a red mist over his eyes, and the thunder of 
twenty judgments rang in his ears : he knew no more. He 
was mad, stark mad — so drunk with the wine of human blood 
and the fiendish joy of battle, that the powers of teaven might 
have looked down in pity on him as upon a new and better 



THE COW A ED. 477 

developed descendant of the original Cain, smiting all his 
brothers to a death that could not satisfy the hot thirst of his 
evil soul. 

Only once he seemed to be for a moment clearly conscious. 
It was when they rode full upon the battery, trampling down 
men and horses and sabring every thing that had life, but 
under a fire which seemed to rain from the opened windows 
of hell. He saw a man who had thus far kept at his side, 
recoil, rein his horse backward, leap over the fallen friends 
and foes who barred his flight, and dash down the track to- 
wards the bridge. He saw, and knew Captain Hector Coles ; 
and in his madness he had reason enough left to shout "Aha 1 
Coward 1 Coward I" and then the red mist closed again over 
his eyes and he fought on. He did not see what followed 
before the flying man reached the bridge — the fragment of a 
shell that struck him in the back and literally tore him in pieces, 
horse and rider going down and lying stone dead together. 

He could not have told, under oath, who gave the command 
for that supplemental charge upon the supporting force. And 
yet his tongue uttered it, and he was in the front, still wav- 
ing his sword through the red mist and letting it fall with de- 
moniac force upon every thing that stood in his way, — when 
the last hope of the rebels was thus broken. He had known but 
little, most of the time : after that he knew literally nothing ex- 
cept that his fierce joy had turned to pain. As if through 
miles of forest he heard the notes of the bugles sounding the 
recall ; and he had a dim consciousness of hearing the soldiers 
speaking of him in words that would have given him great 
pleasure had he been alive to ^appreciate them ! Then he 
was back at the bridge. Kilpatrick was there, somebody 
cheered, and the General held out his hand to him. He tried 
to hand him back the sword that had done such good service, 
said ; " I have brought it — back — " and spoke no more. Then 
and only then, as he fell from his blown and beaten gray, they 
knew that his first charge bad a likelihood of being his last — 
that a Minie bullet, received so long before that some of the. 



478 THE COWARD. 

blood la}' dried upon his coat, had passed throiiir]i hin^ f,.oni 
breast to back, — thank God not from back to breast! — so near 
the heart that even the surgeon could not say whether it had 
touched or missed it I 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



Once more at West Philadelphia — September and Change 
■ — Last glimpses of Kitty Hood and Dick Compton — 
Robert Brand and his Invited Guest — The News of 
Death — Old Espeth Graeme as a Seeress — The Des- 
patch FROM Alexandria — The Quest of Brand and 
Margaret Hayley. 

Hurrying rapidly towards its close, this narration must be- 
come yet more desultory and at times even more fragmentary, 
than it has been in the past. The seven-league boots of story 
must be pulled on, however unwillingly, and many a spot that 
w^ould have been lingered lovingly over at the commencement 
of the journey, cleared now with a glance and a bound. The few 
pages that remain, in fact, may justify a change in the figure, 
appearing more like lightning glimpses from railroad-car win- 
dows than connected and leisurely views of the whole land- 
scape of story. 

September on West Philadelphia, where it seems but yes- 
terday, though really three months ago, that we saw the fair 
June morning and inhaled the perfume of the sweet June 
roses. Those roses, the companions in life and death of that 
with which Margaret Hayley was toying on the morning when 
she met the crushing blow of her life, — had long since sighed 
out their last breath of fragrance and faded away, to be fol- 
lowed now by the bright green leaves amid which they had 
clustered and peeped and hidden. The waving grain fields 



THE COWARD. 479 

which had formed so pleasant a portion of the June landscape, 
were changed as much, though less sadly. Bright golden 
wheat that had formed part of it, lay heaped in the farmer's 
granaries ; and puffed loaves with crisp brown crust, made 
from that which had still further progressed in its round of 
usefulness to man, lay on the baker's counter. There wag 
ghort stubble where the grain had waved, and over it the 
second growth of clover was weaving its green mantle of con- 
cealment. In the peach orchards the fruit hung ripe to tempt 
the fingers ; the apples were growing more golden amid the 
masses of leaves where they coyly sheltered 'themselves from 
the sun ; and on the garden trellises there already began to be 
dots of purple among the amber green of the grape clusters. 
There was less of bright, glossy green in the foliage — nature's 
summer coat had been some time worn and began to give 
tokens of the rain and wind and sun it had encountered. The 
birds sang in the branches, but their song seemed more staid 
and less sprightly, as if they too had felt the passage of the 
months, grown older, and could be playful children no more. 
Occasionally the long clarionet chirp of a locust would break 
out and trill and die away upon the air, telling of fading sum- 
mer and the decline of life so sweetly and yet so sadly that decay 
became almost a glory. The mellow, golden early afternoon 
of the year, as June had been its late morning — not less 
beautiful, perhaps, but oh how immeasurably less sprightly 
and bewitching — how much more calm, sober and subduing I 

Nature moves onward, and humanity seldom stands still, 
if it does not outstrip the footsteps of the mother. Something 
of the changes that had fallen during the preceding three 
months upon that widely varied group of residents beyond the 
Schuylkill who have supplied characters to this narration, is 
already known : what remains may be briefly told at this 
stage and in the closing events soon to follow. Of those 
changes to Eleanor Hill, Nathan Bladesden and Dr. Pomeroy, 
directly; of those to the members of the Brand household, yet 
sooner ; of those to two minor characters who will make no 



480 THE COWAKD. 

further appearance upon the stage during this life-drama, at 
once. Let that two be Dick Compton, farmer, and Kitty Hood, 
schoolmistress. The latter yet managed her brood of trouble- 
some children, who still sailed their vessels that had succeeded 
to the evanescent three-master ''Snorter, of Philadelphia," at 
"playtime, in the little pond before the rural school-house, and 
performed other juvenile operations by sea and shore ; but a 
great change had fallen upon the merry, self-willed little girl 
with the brown eyes and the wavy brown hair. The school 
had a mistress, but that mistress had a muder — a sort of 
" power behind the throne" not seldom managed by one sex 
or the other, towards all persons "in authority." Xo bick- 
erings at the school-house door, to be afterwards forgotten in 
explanations and kisses, now. Richard Compton found his 
way there, occasionally and perhaps oftener, but he always 
came in at once instead of the school-mistress going out to 
meet him with a bashful down-casting of the'eyes and a pretty 
flush of modesty upon the cheek ; and he made so little con- 
cealment about the visits that he often managed them so as 
to wait until school was dismissed and then walked all the 
way home with her ! If the young lovers yet had secrets, 
they found some other place than the neighborhood of the 
school-house door, for their utterance. And the big girls and 
the bigger boj^s, who used to enjoy such multitudes of sly gibes 
at the school-mistress and her " beau," had lost all their ma- 
terial of amusement. The very last attempt at jocularity in 
that direction had been some time before effectually "squelched" 
by the dictum of the biggest boy in school : ** You boys, jest 
stop peeking at 'em ! He ain't her beau no more — he's her 
husband ; and you jest let 'em do what they're a mind to !" 

That is the fact, precisely — no less assured because ap- 
proached with a little necessary circumlocution. Dick Comp- 
ton had come back from Gettysburgh with the Reserves, un- 
wounded and a hero. Carlton Brand was gone, and the only 
object of jealousy removed. And before Kitty had quite 
emerged from her "valley of humiliation" at the unfortunate 



THE COWARD. ^^^ 



slap and T,npatriotic upbraiding she found t too ate to 
emerge at all. Tl>o wedding-day had been set and the mar- 
riJeteken plac, almost before she had any idea that sueh 
i were in immediate eontemplation , Kitty Hood was 
"Mrs Riehard Compton," and that was the seeret of the 
Vis ts no longer stolen and the unabashed walk.ng home t - 
eether Xot that the visits of the young farmer to the 
flol exeited no commotion, now-a-days, but that the eon>- 
n otion was of a different character. All the b,g boys and 
Lne of the big girls hated him, as he strode up the .s e 
with his broad, hearty: '"Most ready to go ton-e Kitty- 
and his proprietory taking possession of her with h.s eyes 
hated him because he had to some extent come between her 
and them, and because there was a rumor that " after Xov m- 
ber he was not going to allow her to keep school any mo e^ 
Perhaps there were good reasons for th,s resolut.on, mto 
which we shall certainly make no more attempt to pry than 
was made by the big boys themselves ! God's ^'essmg on 
the young couple, with as much content in the farm-house 
as can well fall to the lot of a small indefinite number,_and 
with as few misunderstandings, coldnesses and jealousies as 
may be deemed necessary by the powers that preside over 
Irried life, to fit them for that life in which "they ne.Uier 
xnarrynor are given in marriage I" And so «-* M . and 
Mrs. Kiehard Compton, for whom we have done all tha the 
friend and the minister could do, leaving Providence and the 
doctor to take care of the remainder. 

That matter properly di^^ of, it becomes necessary to' 
visit the house of Robert Brand once more, on the morning 
of Friday the eighteenth day of September, after an absence 
from it of nearly the three months before designated. Change 
here too. Besides whatever might have been wrought in the 
mast'er of the house during that period, of which we shal be 
soon advised, there had been a marked difference wrough in 
the relations sustained by good, warm-hearted, sisterly, darling 
30 



482 THE COWARD. 

little Elsie. There had been no return to the house, of the 
old family physician, first expatriated, so to speak, by word 
of mouth, and then bull-dogged and threatened with the pro- 
trusion of loaded muskets from convenient windows and the 
application of the strong arms of old Elspeth Graeme who could 
handle the bull-dog. The doctor's-bill had long before been 
settled, and (let us put the whole truth upon record) spent ! 
Then Robert Brand had been again seized with terrible ill- 
ness and sufifering, rendering a physician necessary ; and what 
resource was left except the before-despised professional ser- 
vices of Dr. James Holton ? None whatever. So the old 
man thought and so Elsie Brand knew. Result, Dr. James 
Holton had suddenly found himself, in July, the medical ad- 
viser of the Brands, and the adviser, mental, moral and medi- 
cal, of Elsie. He had since so remained, seeming to do mar- 
vels at re-establishing the shattered constitution of the invalid 
and setting him once more on his natural feet, and with a 
pleasant prospect that all the difficulties were smoothed out 
of the way of his eventual union with Elsie, when a little 
more time and a little enlarged practice should make their 
marriage advisable. And Elsie had grown almost happy 
once more — quite happy in the regard of a good man whom 
she loved with all the warmth of the big heart in her plump 
little body, and yet restless, nervous and tearful when she 
thought of the brother cherished so dearly, of his broken love, 
bis alienated father, his absence in a strange land, and the 
probability that she could never again lay her golden head 
upon his breast and look up into his eyes as to the noblest 
and most godlike of them all. 

At a little before noon on that September morning, a single 
figure was moving slowly backward and forward, up and down 
the length of the garden walk in the rear of the house of 
Robert Brand, the t-#3llises of the grapery above and on 
either side, for nearly the whole distance, flecking the autumn 
sunshine that fell on the walk and on the moving figure, while 
from the vines themselves peeped the thick clusters of amber 



'the coward. 483 

fruit upon whicli the purple bloom was just beginning to throw 
a hint of October and luscious ripeness. Late flowers bloomed 
in the walks and borders on either side ; occasional!}^ a bird 
sent up its quiet and contented twitter from the top of the 
vine where it was tasting a premature grape ; a cicala's 
chirp rang feebly out, swelled up to a volume that lilled the 
whole garden, then died away again, an indefinable feeling of 
stillness seeming to lie in the very sound. The sunlight was 
golden, the sky perfectly cloudless, the air balmy and indo- 
lent ; beneath the trellis and beside the walk two long rustic 
settees combined with the wooing air and beckoned to closed 
eyes, day-dreams and repose ; and yet the very opposite of 
repose was expressed in the appearance and movement of 
that single figure. 

It was that of Robert Brand, three months older than wo 
saw him in the early summer, far less an invalid than he 
had been at that time, as evidenced by the absence of his 
swathed limb and supporting cane, yet more broken within 
that period than most men break in ten twelvemonths — more 
than he had himself broken before in the same period of his 
severest years of bodily suffering. Something of the iron 
expression of the mouth was gone, and in its place were 
furrowed lines of suffering that the torture of the body could 
scarcely have imprinted there without the corresponding 
agony of the mind ; he was more stooped in the shoulders 
than he had been when before observed ; and down the side- 
hair that showed from beneath his broad hat — hair that had 
been fast but evenly changing from gray to white, there now 
lay great streaks of finger thickness, white as the driven 
snow and in painful contrast with the other, — such streaks 
as are not often made in hair or beard except by the pressure 
of terrible want, a great sorrow, or a month of California 
fever. This was not all — he walked with head dejectedly 
bent, and hands beneath the skirts of his coat; and when he 
glanced up for a moment it could be seen that his lip trembled 
and the eye had a sad, troubled expression that might have 



484 THE COWARD 

told of tears past, tears to corae, or a feeling far too absorbing 
for either. Alas ! — the old man was indeed sufferinjar. The 
shame of a life had been followed by its sorrow. He had erred 
terribly in meeting the one, and paid the after penalty : bow 
could he muster fortitude enough to meet the other ? 

To him old Elspeth Graeme, large-faced, massive-framed, 
and powerful looking as of old, with a countenance no more 
changed during the preceding three months than a granite 
boulder in the mountains might have been affected by a little 
wind and storm during the same lapse of time. Behind her 
Carlo, who since the disappearance of his young master 
seemed to have found no one else except the old Scottish 
woman who could pretend to exercise any control over him, 
and who consequently had attached himself to her almost 
exclusively. The master, who was making one of his turns 
up the walk, saw her as she emerged from the house, and 
met her as she approached, with inquiry in face and voice. 

"Well?" 

" Stephen has just come ben with the carriage, and the 
leddy is in the house, though the Laird kens what ye'r 
wantin' of her here, ava !" 

" Hold your tongue, woman ! When I need your opinion 
I will ask you for it !" This in a tone very much like that 
of the Robert Brand of old, in little squabbles of the same 
character. Then with the voice much softened : " Is Mar- 
garet Hayley in the house, do you say ?" 

" 'Deed she is, then, and she'll just be tired of waiting for 
ye, as the lassie's gone, gin ye dinna haste a bit !" 

" I will come — no, ask her to step into the garden ; I will 
see her here." 

" He's gettin' dafter than ever, I'm thinkin', to invite a 
born leddy out into the garden to see him, instead of ganging 
in till her as he should !" muttered the old serving-woman as 
she turned away to obey the injunction, and in that way 
satisfying, for the time, her part of the inevitable quarrel. 
The moment after the back door of the house opened again, 



THE COWARD. 485 

and Margaret Ilayley came out alone. Stately as ever in 
step, though perhaps a little slower; the charm of youth and 
budding womanhood in face and figure, with the broad sun 
flashing on her dark hair and seeming to crown her with 
a dusky glory ; but something calmer, softer, sadder, ay, even 
older, visible in her whole appearance and manner, than 
could have been read there in that first morning of June, 
upon the piazza of her own house. She, too, had been living 
much within a brief period : it may be that the course of this 
narration has furnished the reader with better data for judg- 
ing hoiv much, than any that lay in the possession of Robert 
Brand 

She approached the end of the arbor from which he was 
emerging, and he met her before she had reached it. Her 
face, as they met, wore an unmistakable expression of wonder 
— his an equally unmistakable one of pain. Neither spoke 
for one moment, then the old lawyer held out his hand and 
said : 

" You wonder, Margaret, why I sent for you ?" 

"Did you send, really, Mr. Brand? I thought that per- 
haps Stephen had made a mistake and that Elsie wished to 
see me for some reason." 

" No, Elsie has been absent all the morning, and may not 
return for an hour or two yet," was the reply. " / sent for 
you. I had a reason. Old men do not trifle with young 
women, perhaps you are aware." There was that in his 
voice which displayed strong suffering and even an effort to 
speak. The young girl saw and heard, and the wonder in 
her eyes deepened into anxiety as she said : 

" You surprise me by something in your manner, Mr. Brand. 
You almost alarm me. Pray do not keep me in suspense. I 
think I am not so well able to bear anxiety and mystery as I 
used to be. Why did you send for me ?" 

" Poor girl !" the lips of Robert Brand muttered, so low 
that she did not catch the words. Much less did she hear 
the two words that fullowcd, in little more than a whispered 



486 THE COWARD. 

groan : " Poor girl ! — poor father I" Then he took one of the 
white hands in his, the eyes of the young girl deepening in 
wonder and anxiety all the while, — led her a little down the 
path to one of the rustic seats under the trellis, dropped down 
upon it and drew her down beside hira, uttering a sigh, as he 
took his seat, like that of a person over-fatigued. 

*' You loved my son." He did not look at her as he spoke 
the words. 

"Mr. Brand — I beg of you — " and then ]\[argaret Hayley 
paused, her throat absolutely choked with that to which she 
could not give utterance. He did not seem to heed her, but 
went on. 

*' You loved my son. So did I. God knows how / loved 
him, and I believe that your love was as true as heaven." 

" Mr. Brand — for that heaven's sake, why do you say this, 
to kill us both ? I cannot listen — " she rose from the seat 
with a start and stood before him as if ready to fly ; but he 
3'et retained her hand and drew her down again. 

"We both loved him, and 3'et we killed him ! You drove 
him from you. I cast him off and cursed him. We killed 
him. He is dead !" 

" Dead ?" The word was not a question — it w^as not an 
exclamation — it was not a cry of mortal agony — it was all 
three blended. Then she uttered no other word but sat as 
one stupefied, while he went on, his lip quivering with that 
most painful expression which has before been noticed, and 
his hand fumbling at his pocket for something that he seemed 
to wish to extract from it. 

" Yes, he is dead. I have known it for two hours — for two 
long hours I have known that I had no soji." Type cannot 
indicate the melancholy fall of the last two words, and the 
heart-broken feeling they conveyed. " My son loved you, 
Margaret Hayley, better than he loved his old father. You 
loved him. You should have been his wife. When I knew 
that he was dead, I tried to conceal it from all until I could 
send for you, for I felt that it was only here and from my lips 



THE COWARD. 487 

that you should learn the truth. Some other might have told 
you with less thought for your feelings, perhaps, than I who 

who who was so proud of him. I have not been rough, 

have I ? I did not mean to be— I meant to be very gentle, 
to you, Margaret 1 See how broken I am !" 

So he was, poor old man ! — broken in heart and voice, for 
then he gave way and dropped his head upon one of his fail- 
ing hands, overpowered, helpless, little more than a child. 

Who shall describe the feelings of Margaret Hayleyas she 
heard the words which told her of that one bereavement 

beyond hope as she heard them in those piteous tones and 

from that agonized father— a father no more ? Absence, si- 
lence, shame, separation of heart from heart upon earth, hope 
against hope and fear without a name — all were closed and 
finished at once and forever, in that one great earthquake of 
fact opening and swallowing her world of thought — dead ! 
Tears had not yet come— the blind agony that precedes them 
if it does not render them impossible, was just then her ter- 
rible portion. 

'' How did he— when — where— you have not told me — " 
A child just learning to speak might have been making that 
feeble attempt at asking a connected question. But Robert 
Brand understood her, too well. His hand, again fumbling 
at his pocket, brought out that of which it had been in search, 
and his trembling fingers half opened a newspaper and put it 
into hers, ^o blast her sense with that greater certainty which 
seems to dwell in written or printed intelligence than in the 
mere utterance of the lips — to destroy the last lingering hope 
that might have remained and put the very dying scene before 
the eyes so little fitted to look upon it. A line of ink was 
drawn around part of one of the columns uppermost, and the 
reader had not even the painful respite of looking to find 
what she dreaded. And of course that paper was a copy 
of the Dublin Evening Mail, sent to Robert Brand by one 
of his distant relatives in England who had chanced to see 
what it contained— the graphic account of the drowning of 



488 THE cow A K D . 

Carlton Brand from the deck of the despatch-steamer, of the 
finding of the body and the burial in the little graveyard back 
of the Hill of Howth, written by that attached friend of a 
night, Henry Fitzmaurice. 

Margaret Hayley read through that account, every word 
of which seemed to exhaust one more drop from the life-blood 
at her heart, — in stony silence and without a motion that could 
have been perceived. Then the paper slid from her hands to 
the ground, she turned her head towards Robert Brand with 
that slow and undecided motion so sad to see because it 
indicates a palsying of the quick natural energies ; and the 
instant after, that took place which told, better than any 
other action could have done, how much each had built upon 
that foundation of an expected near and dear relationship. 
Robert Brand met that hopeless gaze, reading her whole 
secret even as his own was being read. Then he opened his 
arms with a cry that was almost a scream :, " My daughter !" 
and the poor girl fell into them and flung her own around his 
neck with the answering cry : " Father !" Both were sobbing 
then ; both had found the relief of tears. And a sadder spec- 
tacle was never presented ; for while Margaret Hayley, in 
the father of the man she had so loved, was striving to 
embrace something of the dead form that never could be em- 
braced in reality, Robert Brand was still more truly clasping 
a shadow — trying to find his lost son who could never come 
to his arms again, in the thing which had been dearest to that 
son while in life I 

"My son is dead ! Come to me; live with me; be a sister 
to Elsie and a daughter to me, or I shall never be able to bear 
my-punishment!" sobbed the broken old man, bis arms still 
around the pliant form bowled upon his shoulder ; but there 
came no answ^er, as there needed none. Another voice blended 
with those that had before spoken, at that moment, and again 
old Elspeth Graeme stood under the trellis. But was it said a 
little while since that no change had come upon her since the 
fading of the roses of June ? — certainly there had been a change 



THE C O W A li 1) . 489 

startling and fearful to contemplate, even in the fewmomcnrs 
elapsing since her former speech with her master. The rough, 
coarse face had assumed an expression in vvhi(;h bitter sorrow 
was contending with terrible anger; the bluish gray eyes 
literally blazed with such light as might have filled those of a 
tigress robbed of her young ; and it would have needed no 
violent stretch of fancy to believe that she had revived one of 
the old traditions of her Gaelic race and become a mad proph- 
etess of wrath and denunciation. Strangely enough, too, 
Carlo was again behind her, his eyes glaring upon the two 
figures that occupied the bench, and his heavy tail moving 
with that slow threatening motion which precedes the spring 
of the beast of prey ! Was old Elspeth Graeme indeed a 
wierd woman, and had the brute changed to be her familiar 
and avenging spirit ? 

The serving-woman held something white in her hand, but 
neither Robert Brand nor his visitor saw it. They but saw 
the tall form and the face convulsed with wild feeling ; and 
both seemed to shrink before a presence mightier than them- 
selves. The strange servitor spoke : 

" Robert Brand, tell me gin I heard aright! Did ye say 
that Carlton Brand was dead ?" 

" Who called you here, woman ? Yes, he is dead ! He was 
drowned on the Irish coast three weeks ago," answered the 
bereaved father, oddly blending the harsh authority of the 
master with the feeling which really compelled him to makv, 
response. 

"Then ye had better baith be dead wi' him— the father who 
banned his ain flesh and bluid and wished that he would dee 
before his very eyne, and the fause woman who had nae mair 
heart than to drive him frae her like a dog !" 

" Woman !" broke out the master, but the interruption did 
not check her for an instant. She went on, broadening yet 
more in her native dialect as she grew yet more earnest: 

" Nae, ye must e'en bide my wuU and tak' it, Robert Brand I 
It has been waiting here for mony a day, and I can baud it 



490 THE COWARD. 

nae longer ! lie was my braw, bonnie lad, and puir auld 
Elsie loed him better than ye a' ! I harkit till ye, Robert 
Brand, when yer curse went blawin' through the biggin like 
an east win', and I keu'd ye was sawin a fuff to reap a swirl ! 
Ye must ban and dom yer ain bluid because it wad na fecht, 
drivin' the bairn awa frae kin and kintra, and noo ye hae wy 
curse to stay wi ye, sleepin' and waki-n' — ye an' the fause 
beauty there that helpit ye work his dool !" 

*' Elspeth Graeme, if you say another word to insult Miss 
Hayley and outrage me, I will forget that you are a woman 
and choke you where you stand !" cried Kobert Brand, no 
longer able to restrain himself, starting to his feet and draw- 
ing Margaret to the same position, with his arm around her 
waist. But the old woman did not flinch, or pause long in her 
denunciation. 

" Nae, ye'U do naething of the kind, Robert Brand ! — ye'U 
tak what must come till ye !" And indeed it looked as if 
the great dog behind her would have sprung at the throat of 
even the master if he had dared to lay hands on his strange 
servitor. " Ye'U tak the curse, baith o' ye, and ye'U groan 
under it until the day ye dee ! Gin Carlton Brand is dead, ye 
murdered him, and his eldritch ghaist shall come back and 
haunt ye, by night and by day, in the mist o' the mountain 
and the crowd o' the street, till yer blastit under it and think 
auld Hornie has grippet ye by the hearts ! Yell sing dool 
])elyve, baith of ye! Auld Elsie tells ye so, and slight her if 
ye daur !" 

Before these last words were spoken, Margaret Hayley had 
slipped from the grasp of the old man and was on her knees 
upon the ground, her proud spirit fairly broken, her hands 
raised in piteous entreaty, and her lips uttering feebly : 

" Oh, we have both wronged him — I know it now. But 
spare me, good Elspeth, now when my heart is broken ; and 
spare liim!''^ 

But Kobert Brand, as was only natural — Robert Brand, 
feeble as he was, viewed the matter in a somewhat different 



THE COWARD. 491 

light. Sorrow might have softened him, but it had by do 
means entirely cured his temper; and the serving-woman had 
certainly gone to such lengths in her freedom as might have 
provoked a saint to something very much like anger. He 
grasped Margaret from her kneeling position, apparently for- 
getting pain and weakness, — set her upon the seat and poured 
out a volley of sound, strong plain-English curses upon the old 
woman, that had no difficulty whatever in being understood. 
Dog or no dog, it seemed probable that he might even have 
given vent to his rage in a more forcible manner, when another 
interruption occurred which somewhat changed the posture of 
affairs. 

Elsie Brand came out from the house, hat upon head, and 
dressed as for a ride. She had been taking one, in fact, with 
Dr. James Holton, who had driven her over for a call upon 
one of her friends ; and she looked radiant enough to proclaim 
the truth that she had just left very pleasant company. Her 
plump little form as tempting and Hebe-ish as ever ; her 
bright yellow hair a little " touzled" (it could not be possible 
that those people had been laying their heads too near 
together in the carriage as they came across the wood road !) ; 
and her blue eyes one flash of pleasure that had forgotten all 
the pain and sorrow in the world, — she was a strange element, 
just then, to infuse into the blending of griefs within that 
garden. She came out with hasty step, calling to Elspeth. 

"Elspeth! Elspeth 1 What keeps you so long? The 
boy is waiting to know if father has any answer." Then 
seeing the others :* " What, Margaret here with father ? 
How do you do, Margaret ?" It was notable how the voice 
fell slowed and softened, in speaking the last five words, and 
how the light went out from her young eyes as she spoke. 
Though friends always, Margaret Hayley and Elsie Brand 
had never been the same as before to each other, since that 
painful June morning on the piazza. How could they be ? 
But Margaret was softened now, and she said, " Dear Elsie I'* 



492 THE COWARD. 

took tlie little girl in her arms and kissed her, so that some- 
thin*^ of the past seemed to have riJturned. 

But meanwhile another incident of importance was occur- 
ring. It may have been noticed that Elspeth Graeme had 
Something white in her hand when she came out into the 
garden the second time. So she had, indeed — a folded note 
addressed to Robert Brand, and with a wilderness of pnnting 
scattered over the edges and half the face of the envelope ; 
but she had quite forgotten the fact in the sudden knowledge 
of the death of her young master and the necessity of becom- 
ing an avenging Pythoness for the occasion. Now, Elsie's 
words called the attention of the old lawyer to that something 
in her hand, and he took it from her with a motion very 
much like a jerk, and the words : 

"If you have a letter for me, why did you not give it to 
me instead of standing here raving like a bedlamite — you old 
fool ?" 

" It is na a letter ; it's what they ca' a telegraph, I'm 
thinkin' !" muttered the old woman, a good deal taken down 
from her " high horse" by this reminder of her delinquency, 
and with some sort of impression that this must be a sufiBcient 
apology for not being in a hurry. " Somebody else dead, 
belike ! — we're a' goin' to the deevil as fast as auld Clootie 
can drag us, I ken !" 

It was a telegraphic despatch which the old woman had 
delivered with such signal celerity, and which Robert Brand 
tore open with celerity of a very different character. He read, 
then read again, then his face paled, and a strange, startled 
look came into his eyes, and he put one hand to his forehead 
with the exclamation : 

" What is all this ? Am I going mad ?" 

" What is it, father ?" and little Elsie pressed up to his 
side and took the despatch from his unresisting fingers. And 
it was she who read it aloud to the other wonderers, herself 
the most startled w^onderer of all : 



THE CO WARP. 493 

Alexandria, Sept. l*Ith, 1863. 
Robert Brand, West Philadelphia, 

Care Messrs. , No. — Market St. Philadelphia. 

Your son, Carlton Brand, dangerously wounded at Culpeper. 
Lying in hospital here. If well enough, wish you would come 
down and see him. He does not know of this. E. H. 

"Well, I'll be 1" 



It was a plump, round oath that Robert Brand uttered — 
very improper under any circumstances, and especially so in 
the presence of ladies, — but about as natural, when all things 
are considered, as the air he breathed. In order to realize 
the exact position and the blind astonishment that must have 
lain in that telegraphic despatch, it is necessary to remember 
that once before he had heard of the death of the young man, 
from one who had just seen his lifeless body (Kitty Hood), 
and that only two hours afterwards his house had been 
visited by the enraged Dr. Pomeroy to reclaim a girl that 
the man just before dead was alleged to have stolen I Now, 
only an hour or two before, he had a second time been in- 
formed of his son's death at sea, and burial in Ireland, undef 
Buch circumstances that mistake seemed to be impossible ; 
and yet here was a telegraphic despatch quite as likely to be 
authentic if not originating in some unfeeling hoax — inform- 
ing him that he had been nearly killed in battle, and was 
lying in one of the Virginia hospitals I At short intervals 
the young man seemed to die, in different places, and then 
immediately after to be alive again in other places, under 
aspects scarcely less painful and yet more embarrassing. 
There was certainly enough in all this to make the old man's 
brain whirl, and to overspread the faces of the others with 
such blank astonishment that they seemed to be little else 
than demented. There was one, however, not puzzled one 
whit. That was old Elspeth, who muttered, loudly enough 
for them all to hear, as she abandoned them to their fate, 
resigned her temporary position as seeress, and went back to 
the mundane duties of house-keeping : 



49i THK COWARD. 

" It's not tlie bairn's ainsel at all that's lying down amang: 
tlie naygurs where they're fechtiug. It is his double that's 
come bock frae the auld land to haunt ye I Come awa, 
Carlo, lad, and let them mak much of it!" 
, There is no need to recapitulate all that followed between 
the three remaining people, surprised in such different de- 
grees — the words in which little Elsie was made to under- 
stand the first intelligence, followed by her reading of the 
whole account in the Irish paper — the hopes, fears, fancies 
and wild surmises which swept through the brains and hearts 
of each — the thoughts of Robert Brand over the initials ap- 
pended to the telegraphic despatch, which for some reason 
made him much more confident of its authenticity than he 
would otherwise have been, while they embarrassed him 
terribly in another direction which may or may not be 
guessed — the w^eaving together of three minds that had 
been more or less separated by conflicting feelings with refer- 
ence to that very person, into one grand total and aggregate 
of anxiet_y which dwarfed all other considerations and made 
the whole outside world a blank and a nothing in comparison. 
All this may be imagined : until the perfecting of that inven- 
tion by which the kaleidoscope is to be photographed in the 
moment of its revolution, it cannot be set in words. But the 
result may and must be given. 

" I shall go to Washington by the train, to-night," said 
Robert Brand, when the discussion had reached a certain 
point, with the mystery thicker than ever and the anxiety 
proportionately increasing. 

"You, father? Are you well enough to go ?" and little 
Elsie looked at him with gratified and yet fearful surprise. 

" No matter, I am going !" That was enough, and Elsie 
knew it. Within the last half hour much of his old self 
seemed to have returned ; and when he assumed that tone, 
life granted, he would go as inevitably as the locomotive. 

" I am glad to hear you say so, Mr. Brand — father !" said 
^[argaret Hayley, very calmly. ** It will make it much 
better, no doubt, for / am going." 



THE COWARD. 495 

"You I" This time there were two voices that uttered 
the word of surprise. 

'* Yes, I! If Carlton Brand is lying wounded in a Vir- 
ginia hospital, I know my duty ; and if I must miss that, to 
hitn, or Heaven, henceforward, I shall be among the lost I" 
Strange, wild, mad words ; but how much they conveyed ! 

"God bless you, my daughter /" " My dear, dear sister P' 
And somehow three people managed to be included in one 
embrace immediately after. This was all, worth recording 
that the grape trellis saw. °' 

That evening when the Thiladelphia, Wilmington and 
Baltimore train left Broad and Prime, it bore Robert Brand 
and Margaret Hayley, going southward on that singular 
quest which might end in so sad and final a disappointment. 



CHAPTER XXIY. 

In the Hospital at Alexandria-.The Wounded Man 
AND HIS Nurse— Sad Omens_A Reunion of Three- 
Brave Man or Coavard ?-Who was Horace Town- 
send ?_A Mystery Explained-How Eleanor Hill 

WENT BACK TO Dr. PoMEROY'S-OnE WORD MORE OP THE 

Comanche Rider— Conclusion. 

Glimpses now, only glimpses-with great breaks between 
which the imagination may fill at pleasure. Events, few in 
number, not less strange, perhaps, than those which have 
already occurred, but less enwrapped in mystery, and gradu- 
ally shaping themselves towards the inevitable end. 

The military hospital at Alexandria. Outside, diniry and 
•yet miposing, fit type of the State that held it, in the days 
before secession was anything more than a crime in thought 
A\ithin, a wilderness of low-ceilingod rooms, comfortable 



496 THE COWARD. 

enouirli but all more or less diiifry like the exterior. Nine out 
of ten of them filJc^d with cot-bedsteads arranged in long rows 
with aisles between ; sacred at once to two of the most incon- 
gruous exhibitions of human propensity — the blood-thirsty 
cruelty which can kill and maim, — the angelic kindness which 
can make a dear child or brother out of the merest stranger 
and bind up the hurts of a rough, hard-handed, blaspheming 
ruffian, of blood unknown and lineage uncared for, with all 
that tender care which could be bestowed upon the gentlest 
and loveliest daughter of a pampered race when sick or dis- 
abled. One of the many places scattered over the loyal States 
and many portions of the disloyal, made terrible to recollection 
by the suffering that has been endured within them and the 
lives that have gone out as a sacrifice to the Moloch of de- 
structive war, — but made holy beyond all conception, at the 
same time, by the patriotic bravery with which many of their 
lives have been surrendered to the great Giver for a glorious 
cause ; by the patience with which agony has been endured 
and almost reckoned as pleasure for the nation's sake ; and 
by the footsteps of the nobler men and if possible still nobler 
women of America, who have given up ease and comfort and 
domestic happiness and health and even life itself, to minister 
to those stricken down in the long conflict. 

No need to draw the picture : nothing of war or its sad 
consequences remains a mystery in this age and to this people. 
Too many eyes have looked upon the wards of our hospitals, 
the forms stretched there in waiting for death or recovery, the 
figures moving around and among them in such ministration 
as the Good Samaritan may have bestowed upon the bruised 
and beaten Jew of the parable ; — too many ears have listened 
to the moans of suffering rising up continually like a long 
complaint to heaven, the sharp screams of agony under tem- 
porary pang or fearful operation, the words of content under 
any lot, blending like an undertone with all, and the words 
of prayer and Christian dependence crowning and hallowing 
all ; — too many of the men of this time have seen and heard 



THE COWARD. 497 

these tbings, and too many more may yet have the duty of look- 
ing upon them and listening to them, to make either wise or 
necessary the closer limning of the picture that might other- 
wise be presented. W^ have to do with but a little corner 
of the great building that had been made so useful in the care 
of the sick and wounded, just as this narration holds involved 
the interests of a poor half-dozen among the many millions 
affected by the colossal struggle. 

A small room, on the second floor of the building, the walls 
once white and even now scrupulously clean but dingy from 
smoke and use. Two windows in it, opening to the west, the 
tops shaded by paper curtains with muslin, inside, while at 
the bottoms streamed in the soft September afternoon sun- 
light that lay like a glory over the Virginian woods, so fair 
to the eye but so foul and treacherous within, stretching away 
towards the bannered clouds before many hours to shroud the 
Betting of the great luminary. Not one of the common rooms 
in which, perforce from their number, sick and wounded sol- 
diers must be more or less closely huddled together, — but one 
devoted to the care of wounded oflBcers, with four beds of iron, 
neatly made and draped, and at this time only one of them 
occupied. 

We have more than once before had occasion to notice the 
occupant of that one bed near the head of the room, with a 
stream of sunshine pouring in at the window and flooding 
the whole foot. We have before had occasion to remark that 
tall, slight but sinewy form distending the thin covering as it 
settled to his shape. Something of his appearance we have 
not seen before — the head of hair of an indescribable mixture, 
half pale gold or light blonde and the other or outer half 
dark brown or black, scarcely seeming to belong to the same 
growth unless produced by some mad freak of nature. Nor 
Ijave we before remarked the splendidly-chiselled face so pale 
and wan, the life-fluids seeming to be exhausted beneath the 
skin, from loss of blood and severe suffering. Nor yet that 
jther anomaly — a moustache with the outer ends very dark, 



498 THE COWARD. 

almost black, straDj^ely relieved b}' a crop of light brown 
beard starting thick and short, like stubble, on the chin. 
Like this picture in some regards, unlike it in others, the 
occupant of that bed has before presented, as at this moment, 
an anomaly equally interesting and puzzling. Wherever and 
whenever seen, at earlier periods, the last time he met the 
gaze he was dropping from his horse, a bullet through the 
body just above the heart, a red sword slipping from his hand 
and insensibility succeeding to delirium, near the railroad- 
bridge and the captured rebel battery at Culpeper. 

The wounded man lay with his eyes closed and seemed to 
be in sleep. Beside the bed on a low stool and partially rest- 
ing against it, was one who slept not — a woman. One elbow 
resting on the bed-clothes supporting her head, and the other 
hand holding a book in which she was reading. This was 
evidently the nurse, and yet scarcely an ordinary nurse charged 
with the care of all patients, or she could not have afforded 
the time for watching one convalescent v/hile he slept. She, 
too, may have been seen before ; for something there was in 
that tall and lithe form, that mass of rich silky brown hair, 
that face with its mournful eyes and painfully delicate features 
— something that, once seen, lingered like a sweet, sad dream 
in the gazer's memory. And yet here, too, if there was an 
identity, change had been very busy. The form had always 
been lithe — it was now thin to fragility; the hands had al- 
ways been taper and delicate — now they were fleshless almost 
to emaciation ; the face had always conveyed the thought 
of gentleness, helplessness and needful protection — now it 
seemed less helpless but more mournful, the cheeks a little 
sunken, and the red spot burning in the centre of either not a 
close enough semblance of ruddy health to deceive an eye 
quickened by affectionate anxiety. She was dying, perhaps 
slowly, it might be rapidly, but dying beyond a peradventure, 
with that friend or foe which has ushered more human beings 
into the presence of God than any other disease swayed as 
an agency by the great destroyer — consumption I 



THE COWARD. 499 

i 



A few moments of silence, unbroken by any sound within 
the room except the thick breathing of the sleeper : then the 
girl who sat at his side choked a moment, seemed to make 
violent efforts to control the coming spasm, but at last 
yielded, clapped both hands to her left side just above her 
heart, and broke into one of those terrible fits of coughing 
which tear away the system as the earthquake rives the solid 
ground, and which 'are almost as hard to hear as to endure. 
Instantl}^ as the spasm relaxed, she hurriedly drew a white 
handkerchief from the pocket of her dark dress and wiped 
her lips. It was replaced so suddenly that the awakened 
sleeper did not see what stained it— blood, mingled fright- 
fully with the clear white foam. 

The eyes of the wounded man opened ; and there was 
something more of himself that came back in the light of 
their warm hazel, only a little dimmed by suifering, and in 
the play of all the muscles of the face when awake. Both 
hands lay outside the bed-clothing; and as she saw the open- 
ing of his eyes the girl stretched out her own and took one 
of them with such gentleness and devotion as was most beau- 
tiful to behold. She seemed to be touching flesh that she 
held to be better than her own— a suggestive rarity in this 
arrogant world ! Something that man had been to her, or 
something he had done for her, beyond a doubt, which made 
him the object of a feeling almost too near to idolatry. And 
yet what had he given her, to win so much ? Not wealth— 
not love : merely true friendship, respect when others despised, 
and a little aid towards rescue when others turned away or 
labored to produce final ruin ! How easily heaven may bo 
scaled— the heaven of love and devotion if no height beyond, 
—by that consideration which costs so little, by that kind- 
ness which should be a duty if it even brought no recom- 
pense 1 

" There — I have woke you I I am so sorry !" she said, as 
she met his eyes and touched his hand. 

"What consequence, if you have?" was his reply, in a voice 



500 THE COWARD. 

low and somewhat feeble, while his tliiu hand made some 
poor attempt at returning her kind pressure. " Ever gener- ^ 
ous, Eleanor — ever thinking of others and not of yourself! 
They make angels of such people as you — do you know it ?" 

"Angels ? oh, my God, have I lived to hear that word 
applied to meV^ Such was the answer, and the mournful 
eyes went reverently upward as she invoked the one holy 
Kame. 

"Angels? yes, why not?" said the invalid. "Every light- 
tongued lover calls his mistress by that name sometime or 
other, and — " 

" Hush, Carlton Brand, hush !" 

Some painful chord was touched, and he appeared to un- 
derstand, as well he might, by what word with two meanings 
he had lacerated a feeling. He went back to what he had evi- 
dently intended to say at first. 

"You do not think of yourself, I say You have been 
coughing again.'' 

"A little." 

"A little ? Loudly enough to wake me, and I am a sound 
sleeper. Eleanor Hill, you are nursing me, when yoU more 
need a nurse yourself. I am almost well, you know. You 
are growing thinner and your cough is worse every day." 

" Xo, Carlton, better — much better !" 

"Are you sure ? Stop, let me see your handkerchief!" He 
was looking her steadily in the face, and she obeyed him as 
if in spite of her own will and because she had always been 
in the habit of doing so. 

" I thought so," he said. " Eleanor, you are very ill. Do 
not deceive yourself or try to deceive me." 

"Carlton Brand," she answered, returning that look, full in 
the eyes, and speaking slowly — calmly — firmly. " I am dy- 
ing, and no one knows the fact better than myself. Thank 
God that the end is coming !" 

"Oh no, you are very ill, but not beyond hope — not dying," 
he attempted to urge as some modification of the startling 
confession she had made. 



THE COWARD. 601 

" Yes — the whole truth may as well be told now, Carlton, 
since we have begun it. I am dying of consumption, and I 
hope and believe that I shall have but few more days left 
after you get well enough to leave this hospital." 

" Heavens 1" exclaimed the wounded man. " If this is 
true, do you know what you are making of me ? Little else 
than a murderer I I meant it for the best — the best for the 
country and yourself, when I took you away from the house 
of your — of Philip Pomeroy, and sent you into this new path 
of life ; but the sleepless hours and over-exertion, the ex- 
posures to foul air and draughts and anxiety to which you 
have been subjected — oh, Eleanor, is this what I have done ?" 

She slid from her chair and kneeled close beside the bed, 
bending over towards him with the most affectionate interest. 

" Oh no," she said, no agitation in her voice. " Do you 
think that three months has done this ? My family are all 
consumptive — my father died of the disease. What was done 
to me" — her voice faltered for just one moment, then she 
calmed it again by an obvious effort — " What was done to 
me, was done long before and by another hand." 

" Stop I" he interrupted her as she was evidently about to 
proceed. " I must say one word about him. Did you ever 
know all the reason why each of us feared and hated the 
other so much ?" 

Merely a sad shake of the head was the negative. 

" I will tell you, now. I was a coward, and he knew it. 
You knew so much before, but nothing else, I believe. 
He was present once when I fainted at the very sight of 
blood — something that I believe I always used to do ; and 
he knew of my refusing a challenge because I really dared 
not fight. He could expose and ruin me, and I feared him. 
I knew him to be a scoundrel in money affairs as well as in 
every other way : as a lawyer I could put my finger on a 
great crime that he had committed to win a large part of his 
fortune. He knew that I knew it, and that I would have 
exposed him if I dared. So he feared and hated mc, and 



502 THE COWARD. 

each held the other in check without doing more. It is time 
that you should know that crime : it was his robbing you of 
every dollar left you by your father, and putting them all into 
his own pocket, through the pretended machinery of that 
Dunderhaven Coal and Mining Company, of which he was 
President, Director and all the officers !" 

" Carlton ! Carlton ! can this be true, even of him ?" asked 
the young girl, horrified at this crowning proof of a depravity 
beyond conception and yet not beyond fact. 

" It is true, every word of it, and if I had not been a wretch 
unfit to live, I would have exposed and punished him long 
ago. Lately I think I must have gone through what they 
call ' baptizing in fire,' and the very day I am able to crawl 
once more to Dr. Pomeroy's house, I shall force him to meet 
me in a duel or shoot him down like a dog !" 

"This from you, Carlton Brand!" The tone was very 
piteous. 

" Yes — why not ?" The tone was hard and decided, for a 
sick man. 

" May heaven forgive you the thought. Now listen to me. 
You have been the dearest friend I ever had in the world. 
You have been better and truer to me than any brother ; and 
you have done me the greatest of all favors by sending me 
here to nurse the sick and wounded, to win back something 
of my lost self-respect and close up a wasted life with a little 
usefulness before I die ! But after all this I shall almost hate 
you — I shall not be able, I am afraid, to pray for you in that 
land I am so soon going to visit, — if you do not make me one 
solemn promise and keep it as you would save your own 
soul." 

There was an agonized earnest in her words and in her 
manner, as she thus spoke, kneeling there and even clasping 
her hands in entreaty. Carlton Brand looked at her for one 
instant with a great pity ; then he said : 

" Eleanor Hill, if the promise is one that a man can make 
and a man can keep, I will make it and keep it !" 



THE O W A K 1) . 508 

** Then promise me neither in word nur act to harm Philip 
Pomeroy. Leave him to me." 

" To you, poor girl ?" 

** To me ! I will bo punish him as no man was ever 
punished." 

" You punish him ? You, feeble and dying ? How ?" 

" By going back to his house — if they will obey my last 
wish when the hour comes, — dead.^^ 

*' That will be punishment enough, perhaps, even for him, 
if he is human !" slowly said the invalid as he took in the 
thought. "I promise." 

" God bless you I" and poor Eleanor Hill fell forward on 
the bed and burst into sobs that ended the moment after in a 
fit of still more violent coughing than that which had racked 
her half an hour previously. And this did not end like the 
other, but deepened and grew more hoarse until the white 
froth flew from the suffering lips, followed by a gush of blood 
that not only d3'ed the foam but spattered the bed-covering. 

" Heavens ! see how you are bleeding, my poor girl ! You 
must have help at once !" The face of the speaker, deadly 
pale and sorely agitated, told how bad a nurse was this 
choking, dying girl, in his enfeebled condition, with a terrible 
wound scarcely yet commenced healing. 

" Ko, I do not need help— I shall be better in a moment. 
But I agitate you, and I will go away until I have stopped 
coughing." 

Which would be, Carlton Brand thought, perhaps a few 
moments before she went into that holy presence from which 
the most betrayed and down-trodden may not be debarred ! 
Ever weakly-loving — ever thoughtless of her own welfare 
and childishly subservient to the good of others — lacking self- 
assertion, but never wantonly sinful, — had not that strange 
thinker, yet under the influence of the fever of his wound, 
some right to remember Mary's tears, and the blessing to the 
"poor in heart," promised in the Sermon on the Mount? 

But there was real danger to the invalid in this agitation, 



504 THE COWARD. 

and the will of another stepped in to remove the daDg^er. Be- 
fore the poor girl had quite ceased coughing, one of the phy- 
sicians of the hospital, a gray-haired, benevolent-looking man, 
stood by the bedside and touched her upon the shoulder. 

" Coughing again, and so terribly ! What, blood ? Fie, fie I 
— this will never do 1" he said. " If the sick nurse the sick, 
both fare badly, you know. If the scripture doesn't say so, it 
ought to. You must go away to Mrs. Waldron, Nellie, and 
keep quiet and not stir out again to-day." 

"Yes, Doctor,"she answered, rising obediently. "Good- night, 
Carlton I" She stooped and pressed her lips to the thin hand 
so touchingly that the doctor, who could scarcely even guess 
the past relation between the two, almost felt the tears rising 
as he looked. 

"Good-night, and God bless you, Eleanor." 

The doctor's eyes followed her as with slow, weak steps 
she passed out of the room, her pale, mournful face with its 
hectic cheeks and sad eyes looking back to the bed for an in- 
stant as she disappeared. Then he turned away with a sigh 
— such a sigh of helpless sorrow as he had no doubt often 
heaved over the living illustrations of those two heart-break- 
ing words — "fading away." 

" I am sorry she was here," he said, when she had gone. " I 
am afraid that she has used up strength that you needed. 
There are visitors to see you." 

" To see me ?" 

" Yes — now keep as cool as possible, or I will send them 
away again. I hate mysteries and surprises ; but poor Eleanor 
does not, and she sent for them, I believe." 

" She sent for them ? She ? Then they are — " 

" Keep still, or I will tell you no more — they are two from 
whom you have been estranged, I think — your father and — " 

"My sister?" 

"No, the lady is not your sister, I think. She is tall, dark- 
haired, very beautiful and very queenly. Is that your sister ?" 

"No — no — that is not my sister — that is — heavens, can thia 



THK COWARD. 505 

be possible, or am I dreaming ? Doctor, this agitation is 
hurting- mc worse than any presence could do. Send them in 
and trust me. I will be quiet — I will husband my life, for if 
I am not mad and you are not trifling, there may yet be some- 
thing in the world worth living for." 

The doctor laid his hand on the pulse of his patient, looked 
for a moment into his face, and then left the room. The 
next, two stepped within it — an old man with gray hair rapidly 
changing to silver, and a woman in the very bloom of youth 
and beauty. The eyes of the w^ounded man were closed. 
What was he doing ? — collecting strength, or looking for it 
where it ever abides ? No matter. Only one instant more, 
and then the two were on their knees by the bedside, where 
Eleanor Hill had just been kneeling — the father with the thin 
band in his and murmuring : ** Carlton ! my brave, my noble 
son I" and Margaret Hayley leaning far over the low couch 
and saying a thousand times more in one long, tender, cling- 
ing kiss, light as a snow-flake but loving and warm as the 
touch of the tropic sun, — that shunned cheek and brow and 
laid its blessing on the answering lips I 

Some of the words of that meeting are too sacred to be 
given : let them be imagined with the pressure of hands and 
the hungry glances of eyes that could not look enough in any 
space of time allotted them. But there were others, follow- 
ing close after, which may and must be given. Whole vol- 
umes had been spoken in a few words, and yet the book was 
scarcely opened, — when Margaret Hayley rose from her knees 
and bending over the bed ran those dainty white fingers 
through the strangely mottled hair on the brow of the invalid. 
Then she seemed to discover something incongruous in dif- 
ferent portions of the face ; and the moment after, stooping 
still closer down, she swept away the hair from the brow and 
scanned the texture of the skin at its edge. A long, narrow 
scar, its white gloss just relieved on the pallid flesh, crossed 
the forehead from the left temple to the centre of its apex. 
She seemed surprised and even frightened; then a look of 



506 THE COWARD. 

mingled shame and pleasure broke over that glorious face, and 
she leaned close above him and said, compelling his eyes to 
look steadily into hers : 

" Carlton Brand, what does this mean ? I know that scar 
and the color that has once covered that hair and moustache ! 
You are Horace Townsend !" 

'' I was Horace Townsend once, for a little while, Mar- 
garet," was the reply. "But it won me nothing, and you see 
for what a stern reality I have given up masquerading." 

"And you plunged into the Pool to save that drowning boy. 
Ton went down into that dreadful schute and brought up the 
Rambler ! You spoke to the Old Man of the Mountain at 
midnight and carried me away with your words on Echo Lake. 
And you — heaven keep my senses when I think of it ! — you 
made love to me along the road down the Glen below the 
Crawford !" 

" I am afraid I was guilty of all those offences 1" answered 
the invalid, with something nearer to a smile of mischief 
glimmering from the corner of his eve than had shone there 
for many a day. 

" I did hear something in your voice the first night that I 
^aw you there, and afterwards," Margaret Hayley went on, 
" which made me shudder from its echo of yours ; and more 
than once I saw that in your face which won me to you with- 
out my knowing why. Yet all the impression wore off by 
degrees, and — only think of it ! — I w^as nearly on the point, 
at one time, of believing that I had found a truer ideal than 
the one so lately lost, and of promising to become the wife 
of Horace Townsend ! Think where you would have been, 
you heartless deceiver, if I had fallen altogether into the trap 
and done so !" 

" I think I might have endured that successful rivalry bet- 
ter than any other !" was the very natural reply. 

"And this man," said Robert Brand, standing close beside 
the bed, looking down at his son with a face in which pride 
and joy had mastered its great trouble of a few days before. 



T 11 E COW AKl). 007 

and apparently speaking quite as much to himself as to either 
of his auditors — " this man, capable of such deeds of godlike 
bravery in ordinary life, and then of winning the applause of 
a whole army in the very front of battle, — I cursed and 
despised as a coward 1 God forgive me ! — and you, my son, 
try to forget that ever I set myself up as your pitiless judge, 
to be punished as few fathers have ever been punished who 
yet had the sons of their love spared to them ! Margaret-^ 
how have we both misunderstood him !" 

" The fault was not all yours, by any means," said the in- 
valid. " How could either of you know me when I misun- 
derstood and belied myself P^ 

And in that remark — the last word uttered by Carlton Brand 
before he yielded to the exhaustion of his last hour of im- 
prudent excitement and fell away to a slumber almost as 
profound as death, just as the old doctor stepped back to 
forbid a longer interview, and while the shadows of evening 
began to fall within the little room, and Margaret Hayle}^ sat 
by his bedside and held his hand in hers with what was 
plainly a grasp never to be broken again during the lives of 
both, and Robert Brand, sitting but a little farther away, 
watched the son that had been lost and was found, with a 
deeper tenderness and a holier pride thaa he had ever felt 
when, bending over the pillow of his sleeping childhood, — in 
that remark, we say, lay the key to all which had so aifectod 
his life, and which eventually gave cause for this somewhat 
singular and desultory narration. He had misunderslood 
himself; and only pain, suffering and a mental agony more 
painful than any physical death, had been able to bring him- 
self and those who best knew him to a full knowledge of the 
truth. Only a part of that truth he knew even then, when 
he lay in the officers' ward of the Alexandria hospital : it is 
our privilege to know it all and to explain it, so far as ex- 
planation can be given, in a few words. 

Carlton Brand had been gifted, and cursed, from childhood, 
with an intense and imaginative temperament, never quito 



508 THE CO \V A K D . 

regulated or even analyzefl. His sonse of honor had ))Con 
painfully delicate — his love of approbation so strong as to be 
little less than a disease. Some mishap of his weak, hysteri- 
cal and short-lived mother, no doubt, had given him one ter- 
rible weakness, entirely physical, but which he believed to be 
mental — he hahitually fainted at the sight of blood. (This 
fact will explain, parenthetically, why he fell senseless and 
apparently dead at that period in the encounter with Dick 
Compton when the blood gushed over the face of the latter 
from his blow ; and why after each of the excitements of the 
Pool and Mount Willard he suffered in like manner, at the 
instant when his eyes met the fatal sign on the faces of the 
rescued.) High cultivation of the imaginative faculty, the 
habit of living too much within himself, and a constitutional 
predisposition in that direction, had made him painfully 
nervous — a weakness which to him, and eventually to others, 
assumed the shape of cowardice. Recklessly brave, in fact, 
and never troubled by that nervousness for one moment when 
his sympathies were excited and his really magnificent physi- 
cal and gymnastic powers called into play, — that fainting 
shudder at the sight of blood had been all the while his 
haunting demon, disgracing him in his own eyes and marring 
a life that would otherwise have been very bright and pleas- 
ant. One belief had fixed itself in his mind, long before the 
period of this narration, and never after\Vards (until now) 
been driven thence — that if he should ever be brought into 
conflict among deadly iveapons, this horror of blood would 
make him run away like a poltroon, disgracing himself for- 
ever and breaking the hearts of all who loved him. This be- 
lief had made his commission in the Reserves a melancholy 
farce ; this had placed him in the power of Dr. Philip Pom- 
eroy and prevented that exposure and that punishment so 
richly deserved ; this had made his life, after the breaking out 
of the war, one long struggle to avoid what he believed must 
be disgraceful detection. Once more, so that the matter 
which informs this whole relation may be fairlv understood, 



T H K CO ^V A n 1) . 509 

i — Carlton Brand, merely a high-strung, imaginative, nervous 
man, with tiie bravery of the okl Paladins latent in his heart 
and bursting out occasionally in actions more trying than the 
facing of any battery that ever belched forth fire and death, — had 
all the while mistaken that nervousness for cowardice ; — just 
as many a man who has neither heart, feeling nor imagina- 
tion, strides through the world and stalks over the battle- 
field, wrapped in his mantle of ignorance and stolidity, be- 
lieving himself and impressing the belief upon others, that 
this is indomitable bravery. 

AVhat Carlton Brand had believed himself to bo when un- 
tried — what Carlton Brand had proved himself to be when 
hatred to Captain Hector Coles and a despairing hope of yet 
winning the love of Margaret Hayley moved him to the trial 
— how thorough a contrast ! — how exact an antagonism 1 
And how many of us, perhaps, going backward from the glass 
in which we have more or less closely beheld our natural faces, 
forget, if we have ever truly read, " what manner of men" we 
are ! 

And here another explanation must follow, as we may well 
believe that it followed between the three so strangely re- 
united, when rest and repose had worn off the first shock of 
meeting and made it safe for the petted invalid to meet an- 
other pressure from those rose-leaf lips that had forsaken all 
their pride to bend down and touch him with a penitent bless- 
ing — safe to speak and to hear of the many things which the 
parted alwa3^s treasure against re-union. That explanation 
concerns the mystery of the passenger by the Cunarder, the 
American in England, and the man who under the name of 
Carlton Brand perished from the deck of the Emerald off 
Kingstown harbor ? Had he a double life as well as a double 
nature ? Or had there been some unaccountable personation ? 
The latter, of course, and from causes and under circum- 
stances not one whit surprising when the key is once supplied. 

It will be remembered that Carlton Brand, very soon after 
his purchase of a ticket for Liverpool by the Cunard steamer 



610 THE COWARD. 

and his indulgino: that nervousness wliich ho helievod to be 
cowardice with a little shuddering horror at the mass of coal 
roaring and blazing in the furnaces of the government trans- 
port, early in July, — had a visiter at his rooms at the Fifth 
Avenue Hotel — Henry Thornton, of Philadelphia, a brother 
lawyer and intimate friend. It will also be remembered that 
the two held a long and confidential conversation, very little 
of the purport of which was then given. The facts, a part of 
them thus far concealed, were that Carlton Brand, flying from 
his disgrace, really intended to go to Europe as he had in- 
formed Elsie ; that he made no secret of that disgrace, to 
Thornton ; that the latter informed him, incidentally, of what 
he had heard of the summer plans of Margaret Hnyley and 
her mother, whom he knew through his family ; that the 
passage-ticket, lying upon the table, came under the notice 
of Thornton, inducing the information that he was also on his 
way to England, in chase of a criminal who had absconded 
with a large sum of money belonging to one of the Phila- 
delphia banks, and whom he had means, if once he could 
overtake him, of forcing to disgorge ; that Thornton half- 
jestingly proposed, remembering their partial resemblance, 
that if his friend had grown ashamed of his name, he would 
take that and the ticket and pursue the criminal with less 
chance of being evaded, his own cognomen being kept in the 
dark ; that Brand, suddenly taken with the idea and struck 
with the facility which the use of his name by the other would 
furnish for creating the belief that he had himself gone abroad, 
and thus concealing his identity while remaining at home, 
adopted the suggestion and supplied his friend at once with 
name and ticket, for his travelling purposes ; that it was Henry 
Thornton and not Carlton Brand who ran that mad quest 
about England, a hidden criminal always in view, and fre- 
quenting the most doubtful places and the most disreputable 
society to accomplish the object of his search ; and that it was 
poor Thornton and not Carlton Brand who perished in the 
Irish Channel and met that lowly grave in the Howth church- 



THE COWARD. 511 

yard. All tin's while tlie real owner of that name, shaving 
away his curling beard, tinging his fair skin with a very easily- 
obtained chemical preparation, dyeing black his hair and 
moustache and making himself up as nearly as possible like 
Thornton, under the assumed designation of Horace Town- 
send, suggested by the initials of his " double," was carrying 
out that long masquerade which w^e have been permitted to 
witness. 

The peculiarities which he developed in that masquerade, 
should by this time be reasonably well understood ; the motive? 
w^hich kept him near the woman who had once loved him but 
afterwards cast him off forever, may easily be guessed by 
many a man, correspondingly situated, who has thus fluttered 
moth-like around his destroying candle ; the half-maddening 
effect produced upon him by the magnificent scenery of the 
mountains, the displays of reckless courage made by Halstead 
Kowan and the marked admiration of Margaret Hajiey for 
those displays, was no matter for surprise when such sur- 
roundings for such a temperament w^ere considered ; the at- 
tempt to become his own rival and win the woman he so 
wildly worshipped from himself, was not crazier than might 
have been expected from the man who could have exhibited 
all the preceding anomalies ; and after Margaret had declared 
her unalterable love but her invincible determination never to 
marr}'- the man who dared not fight for his native land, — the 
feeling compounded of hope and despair, which sent him 
down to the Virginia battle-fields, first as. a mere spectator 
under the favor of his old friend Pleasanton and then as a 
mad Berserk running a course of w^arlike fury wiiich made 
even gray-bearded veterans shudder, — this need astonish no 
one who has seen how human character changes and devel- 
ops its true components in the crucible of love, shame and 
sorrow ! 

Be sure that Margaret Hayley, too, in that day of the 
clearing away of mists and mysteries, made one explanation 
— not to the ears of Robert Brand, but to those of Carlton 



512 THE COWAKD. 

alone. An explanation that was really a confession, as it 
told him of the means through which the property held by 
her family (oh, how the magnificent face alternately flushed 
and paled when opening this sore wound of her prid^ !) had 
been acquired many years before. But be sure that all this 
was made a recommendation rather than a shame in the eyes 
of Carlton Brand, when he knew that from the day of his 
own dismissal her knowledge of that family stain had been 
used to keep Mrs. Burton Hayley quiet and subservient, to 
hold Captain Hector Coles at a safe distance, and to enforce 
what she had truly intended if he should never honorably 
beckon her again to his bridal bed — a life of loneliness for bis 
sake ! 

Something that occurred a month later — in October, when 
nature had put on those gorgeous but melancholy robes of 
gold and purple with which in America she wraps herself 
when Proserpine is going away from Ceres to the darkness 
and desolation of winter. 

One day during that month a close carriage drove down 
the lane leading from the Darby road past the house of Dr. 
Pomeroy. It was drawn by a magnificent pair of horses, but 
they were driven much more slowly than we have once seen 
them pursuing the same course. A single figure was seated 
in it, with face at the window, when it drew up at the 
doctor's gate ; and out of it stepped Nathan Bladesden, the 
Quaker merchant. 

The face was calm, as beseemed his sect, but very stern. 
A little changed, perhaps, since the early summer, with a 
shadow more of white dashed into the trim side-whiskers and 
one or two deeper lines upon the brow and at the corners of 
the mouth. A step, as he said a word to the driver and 
entered the gate, which comported with the stern gravity of 
the face and the slow rate at which he had been driven. 
Something in the whole appearance indicating that he had 
come upon a painful duty, but one that he would do if half the 
powers of both worlds should combine to prevent him. 



THE COWARD. 51?> 

lie saw no one as he approached the piazza and the closed 
front door; but as he was about to ring, a female servant 
came out, closed the door again behind her and stopped as if 
surprised at seeing him. 

"Is Doctor Philip Pomeroy at home ?" he asked. 

" Yes," was the answer, after one instant of hesitation, — 
*'yes, but—" 

" That was all I asked thee, woman I" answered the Quaker^ 
sternly. " I came to see him and I must do so. Show mo 
to him at once." 

The girl hesitated again, looked twice at him and once at 
the one open window of the parlor, then obeyed the behest, 
opened the front door, pointed to that leading into the parlor 
from the hall, and said : 

" He is there, Mr. Bladesden. If 3^ou must see him, you 
had better knock, for he may not like to be disturbed." 

She went out at once, leaving the front door half open, and 
glancing back, as she passed it, at the tall, powerful man with 
the gray hair and side-whiskers, just applying his knuckles to 
the panel. There was something strange and even startled 
iu her look, but she said no more, left him so and went on 
upon her errand. 

The Quaker knocked twice or three times before there was 
any answer from within. Nor was the door opened even 
then, but the voice of the doctor said : " Come in !" and he 
entered. Doctor Philip Pomeroy sat alone in the room, in a 
large chair, leaning far back, his arms folded tightly on his 
breast and his head so thrown forward that he looked up 
from beneath bent brows. He evidently saw his visitor and 
recognized him, and yet he did not rise or change his position. 
And quite a moment elapsed before he said, in a voice fright- 
fully hoarse : 

" What do you want here, Nathan Bladesden ?" 

" I have business with thee. Doctor Philip," was the reply. 

" And 1 do not choose to do business to-day, with any one, 
nor with you as long as I live 1" said the same hoarse voice. 
32 



514 THE COWARD. 

" And I choose that thee aJiall do business to-day and 
with wi'p/" was the second reply, still equable in tone but 
still terribly earnest. 

Doctor Philip Pomeroy unfolded his arms and rose slowly 
from his chair. The Quaker, as he did so and was thus 
thrown into a better light, saw that his face was hag- 
gard, that his sharp, scintillant eyes were wild, and that he 
looked years older than when he had beheld him last, four 
months before. Standing, and with one hand on the chair 
as if he needed support, he said : 

" Xathan Bladesden, I told you, the last time that you 
visited this house, never to come near it again, and I thought 
that you knew me too well to intrude again uninvited." 

"It is because I know thee very well indeed, that I have 
intruded, as thee calls it I" answered the Quaker, with what 
would have been a sneer on another face and from other lips. 
" I remember the last time I came here. Doctor Philip, quite 
as well as thee does, and I promised thee some things then 
that I am quite as likely to fulfil as thee is to carry out any 
of thy threats. Besides, thee may be sure that I have busi- 
ness, or I should not have come, for thy company is not so 
attractive as that men of good character seek it of their own 
will !" 

The Quaker had no doubt expected that by that time be 
would break out into rough violence, as before ; but he had 
misjudged. From some cause unknown he did not, though 
the wild eyes grew more than scintillant — they glared like 
those of a wild beast at once in pain and at bay. And he 
made no answer except a " Humph I" that seemed to be 
uttered between closed lips — half an expression of contempt 
and half a groan. 

Kathan Bladesden, intent upon his '* business," went on. 

"I will not trouble thee long. Dr. Philip, but thee had 
better pay attention to what I say, for I am very much in 
earnest and not to be trifled with, to-day, as thee will discover. 
If thee remembers, I came here the last time to rescue Eleanor 
Hill from thv villainous hands — " 



THE COWARD. 515 

*' Eleanor Hill I" This was not an exclamation of surprise, 
but a veritable groaning-out of the name. 

^' Yes, Eleanor Hill," pursued Bladesden, — "after thee had 
broken off my marriage with her by poisoning my mind 
against the poor girl thee had ruined in body and soul and 
I believe robbed in fortune. The morning of that day I had 
been, weak, and driven away by thee ; that afternoon I had 
been moved to do my duty and to take her away from the 
hands of a seducer and a scoundrel— to shelter the lamb from 
the wolf, though it was torn and bleeding— to make her my 
sister if I could not make her my wife." 

*'Is that all— all? If not, go on I" groaned out the hoarse 
voice through the set teeth. 

" No, there is somewhat more, Dr. Philip— and that of the 
most consequence," the Quaker continued. "When I came, 
the poor girl was gone — gone from thee as well as from me. 
Then I heard that she had gone among the soldiers of the 
army, doing the work of the Master and healing the sick. 
She was away from thee and doing the duty of merciful wo- 
man, and I was content to wait until she had finished. But 
to-day I learned that yesterday she came back again." 

" Oh, my God !_he-will kill me !" groaned the answering 
voice, deeper and more hoarse than ever. But the Quaker 
went mercilessly on. 

" No, I think that I shall not have need !" he said. "Thee 
is cowardly as well as base, and thee will obey and save thy 
life. I heard, I say, that she had come back to this house of 
pollution, and I have come to take her away. Give her up 
to mc, at once, that I may place her where thee can never 
harm her and never even see her more, and that is all I ask 
of tliee : refuse me or try to prevent my removing her, and I 
will takelhee by the throat, here, now, with these hands that 
thee sees are strong enough to do the duty of the hangman— 
and strangle thee to death 1" 

There was fearful intensity, very near approaching momen- 
tary madness, in the voice and whole manner of Nathan 



516 THE COWARD. 

Bladesden, before lie liad concluded that starllin;? speech; hnt 
if he could have looked keenly enough he might have seen on 
the face of the doctor something more terrible than any word 
he had uttered or any gesture he could make. His eyes 
rolled wildly with a glare that was only one remove from 
manlacy; his whole countenance was so fearfully contorted 
that he might have seemed in the last agony ; and his frame 
shook to such a degree that the very chair he held jarred and 
shivered on the floor with the muscular action. 

"God of heaven, Nathan Bladesden !" he said, the hoarse- 
ness of his voice changed into a wild cry. "Are you mad, or 
am /? You know that Eleanor Hill came back here yester- 
day, and you have come to take her away from me to-day ?" 

" I have come for that purpose, and I will do it, Doctor 
Philip," replied the Quaker. " Thee has my warning, and 
thee had better heed it. Let me see her at once, and then if 
she does not herself ask to be left with thee and the disgrace 
of thy house, thee shall see her no more, if I can prevent it, 
until the judgment !" 

For one moment, then, without another word. Dr. Philip 
Pomeroy looked at the speaker steadily as his own terrible 
situation would permit. Then he seemed to have arrived at 
some solution of a great mystery, or to have sprung to a 
desperate resolution, for he sprang forward, grasped the 
Quaker so suddenly that the latter for the moment started in 
the expectation of personal violence, dragged him to the door 
separating the parlor from a smaller one at the rear, and 
dashed it open, with the words : 

" There is Eleanor Hill ! Ask her if she will go with you 
or remain with me /" 

The room was partially shaded by heavy curtains ; and 
Nathan Bladesden, stepping hastily therein, did not at first 
see what it contained. But when he did so, as he did the in- 
stant after, no wonder that even his stern, strong nature was 
not quite proof against the shock, and that he recoiled and 
uttered an exclamation of affright. For Eleanor Hill was there 



THE COWARD. 517 

indeed, but scarcely within the reach of human wish or ques- 
tion — coffined for the grave, the glossy brown hair smoothed 
away from a forehead on which rested neither the farrow of 
pain nor the mark of shame, the sad eyes closed in that lonj^ 
peaceful night which knows no waking from sleep until the 
resurrection morning, the thin hands folded Madonna-like 
upon the breast, and one lingering flush of the hectic rose of 
consumption in the centre of either pale cheek, to restore all 
her childish beauty and carry the flower-symbol of human 
love into the very domain of death. 

" That is Eleanor Hill — why do you not ask her the ques- 
tion ?" Oh, what agony there was in that poor attempt at a 
taunt I 

" Xo, thee has made her what she is — thee may keep her, 
now !" 

The Quaker's words were a far bitterer taunt than that 
which had fallen from the lips of the doctor. Then he seemed 
to soften, went up to the coffin, looked steadily on the dead 
face for a moment, stooped and pressed his lips on the cold, 
calm brow, and said, with a strange echo of what Carlton 
Brand had uttered in the hospital but a few weeks before : 

"They have such people as thee in heaven, Eleanor! Fare- 
well !" 

He turned away and seemed about to leave the room and 
the house, but the hand of Dr. Philip Pomeroy was again 
upon his arm, grasping it and holding him while the frame 
shivered with uncontrollable emotion and the broken voice 
groaned out : 

''Xathan Bladesden, you hate me, and perhaps you have 
cause. You are a cold, stern man, with no mercy, and my 
tortures must be pleasure to you. Enjoy them all ! And if 
any man ever doubts the existence of hell in your presence, 
tell him that you have seen it with your own eyes in the 
house of Philip Pomeroy, when the only woman he ever loved 
in the world lay dead before him, murdered by his own hand, 
and a devil stood by, taunting him with his guilt !" 



518 THE COVVAKD. 

" I will taunt thee no more, Doctor Philip I" fell slowly 
from the Quaker's lips. " I hate thee no longer. I pity 
thee. Thy Maker is dealing with thee now, and thy punish- 
ment is enough !" 

He turned away, then, and left the suffering man still within 
the room beside the dead. Once as he passed into the hall he 
looked back and saw through the still open door a dark form 
fall forward with a groan, the head against the coffin and the 
arms clasping it as if it had been a living thing. 

There are two endings to the story of " Faust" — that mar- 
vellous..wierd history of human love and demoniac tempta- 
tion which alike in drama and opera enraptures the world, 
and once before alluded to in this narration. In the older 
and coarser version, when the ruin is full accomplished and 
the hour of penalty full ripe, Marguerite is seen ascending 
heavenward, while Mephistopheles laughs hoarsely and 
points downward to the lower pit, whence arise blue flames 
and horrible discords, and into which the doomed Faust is 
seen to be dragged at the last moment by the hands of the 
swarming and gibbering monsters. In the other and yet 
more terrible version, Maguerite is seen ascending, and the 
laugh of the demon is heard, but it is only a faint, fading, 
mocking laugh, as even he flies away and leaves the man ac- 
cursed kneeling in hopeless agony over the dead form from 
which the pure spirit has just gone upward — condemned, not 
to the pit and the flame, but to that worse hell of living alone 
and without hope, racked by love that has come in its full 
force when too late, and by a remorse that will worse clutch 
at his heart-strings than all the fiends of perdition could do at 
the poor body which coffers his soul of torment. Who does 
not know how much the more dreadful is that second doom ? 
Who does not — let him never tempt God and fate by making 
the rash experiment ! 

Xathan Bladesden^was right — even for such sins as those 
Doctor Philip Pomeroy had committed, the reckoning was 
fearful ! 



THE COWARD. 



519 



Poor Eleanor Hill had been right, too, when she said : 
- Leave him to me ! * * * I will so punish him as no 
man was ever punished I" 

Shall there not be one glimmer more of sunshine after the 
dark night and the storm ? Thank heaven, yes !-in a far-off 
glance at fortunes left long in abeyance but not forgotten. 

Lying on the sofa at Mrs. Burton Hayley's, one evenmg 
when the first fires of winter had not long been lighted,-still 
taking the privilege of the invalid though no longer one, and 
making a pillow of the lap of Margaret Hayley, her damty 
white fingers plaving with his clustering golden blonde hair 
as they had erewhile done among the summer rose-leaves,— 
a quick, warm, happy kiss stolen now and again when the 
di-aified lady of the mansion was too busy with the de- 
vo'utly-religious work that she was reading, to be horrified 
by such immoral practices,-lying thus, and the two talking 
of dear little Elsie's coming happiness and their own which 
was not to be much longer deferred ; of the restored pride and 
renovated health of Robert Brand— quite as dear to Margaret, 
since that day in the garden, as to the son and daughter of his 
own blood ; of the delirious joy and dreadfully broad Scotch 
of old Elspeth Graeme since the return of her " bonny bairn ;" 
of poor Eleanor Hill and Captain Hector Coles, dead so dif- 
ferently on the fatal Virginian soil ; of these and others, and 
of all the events which had been so strangely crowded within 
the compass of little more than half a year,-lying thus and 
talking thus, we say, Carlton Brand drew from his pocket a 
little fmgment clipped from a newspaper, and said : 

'' By the way, Margaret, here is something that I found in 

one of the Baltimore papers yesterday. It concerns some 

friends of ours, whom we may never meet again, but whom 

neither of us, I think, will ever quite forget. Read it." 

Margaret Haylev took the slip and read, what writer and 

reader'may be pardoned for looking over her fair rounded 

shoulder and perusing at the same moment— this satisfactory 

and significant item : 



520 THE C O \V A K D. 

MARRIED. Rowan— VANDBRLY5.— On Wednesday the 9th inst., 
by Rev. Dr. Rushmore, Major Halstead Rowan, of the Sixth Illi- 
nois cavalry, to Clara, daughter of the late Clayton Vauderlyu, 
Esq., and Mrs. Isabella Vanderlyn, of Calvert St. 

" She was a sweet girl, and be was one of nature's gentle- 
men," said Margaret. " I saw enough to know how dearlj 
they were in love with each other before they left the moun- 
tains ; and I am glad to know that they have had their will, 
in spite of" — and here she lowered her voice, so that Mrs. 
Burton Ilayle}^ could not possibly hear her — " a proud, med- 
dling mother and a brother who should have been sent back 
to school until he learned manners 1" 

" Oh, Rowan told me that he was going into the army, be- 
fore he left the Crawford," answered the happy lounger. 
"You see he has done so and become a Major, and that 
makes him gentleman enough even for the Vanderlyns. 
George ! — what a dashing ofiScer he must make ! Some day, 
when I go back to the army — " 

" When / let you go back, mad fellow !" 

" Some day I want to ride a charge with him, side by side. 
He was the boldest rider and the most daring man I ever 
knew." 

" The bravest that lever knew, except one !^' said Margaret 
Hayley, stooping down her proud neck and for some unex- 
plainable reason stopping for an instant in the middle of her 
speech. "And he had even the advantage of that one in a 
very important respect." 

"And what was that, I should like to be informed, my Em- 
press 1" 

"'RQknewitP' 



THE END. 



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